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Full text of "Negro life in the South,: present conditions and needs"

NEGRO LIFE 

IN 

THE SOUTH 



W.D .WEATHERFORD 



UNIVERSITY 
OF FLORIDA 
LIBRARY 





(^ 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

Lyrasis IVIembers and Sloan Foundation 



http://www.archive.org/details/negrolifeinsouthOOweat 



NEGRO LIFE 
IN THE SOUTH 



PRESENT CONDITIONS 
AND NEEDS 



BY 
• W. D. WEATHERFQRD^Ph.D. 



REVISED EDITION 



NEW YORK 

ASSOCIATION PRESS 

1911 






f , ^ Copyright, 1910, by ' ' ■ 

' THE INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF 
YCUNG MEK'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATIONS 

Copyright, •911, b/ 

THE INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF 

YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATIONS 






DEDICATED TO THE COLLEGE MEN OF 
THE SOUTH, IN WHOSE TOLERANT 
SPIRIT AND UNSELFISH INTEREST 
LIES THE HOPE OF THE NEGRO RACE. 



6^// 



PREFACE 

During the month of April, 1908, a company 
of seven men, four negroes and three white men, 
came together in the City of Atlanta to discuss 
the present race question, with special reference 
to what the college men of the South might do 
to better conditions. Those present in this con- 
ference were Dr. W. R. Lambuth, Missionary 
Secretary of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South; Dr. Stewart R. Roberts, formerly a pro- 
fessor at Emory College, Georgia, now profes- 
sor of physiology in the Atlanta School of Phy- 
sicians and Surgeons ; President John Hope, of 
Atlanta Baptist College (colored), a colored man 
of broad education and scholarly spirit; Profes- 
sor John Wesley Gilbert, one of the most schol- 
arly and sane minded negro men in the South ; 
Messrs. W. A. Hunton and • J. E. Moorland, 
secretaries of the Colored Department, Inter- 
national Committee of Young Men's Christian 
Associations, and the author. 

We spent six hours in a very thorough and 
earnest conference, the result being a unanimous 
vote to have a text book prepared on the negro 
in the South, which could be used in the Home 
Mission classes of the College Young Men's 
Christian Associations. The task of preparing 
this text book was placed upon the author -by 
this committee. 



VI PREFACE 

It may be worth while to say that the author 
is a Southern man, a graduate of Vanderbilt 
University, and, since leaving, college, has been 
the Student Secretary of the International Com- 
mittee of Young Men's Christian Associations 
for the South, It will thus appear that this vol- 
ume has been prepared by one who has spent his 
life in the midst of the conditions about which 
he attempts to write. He, therefore, has no rea- 
son to be prejudiced for or against the negro any 
more than should any other Christian man of the 
section, save wherein a thorough study of condi- 
tions may have brought new convictions. 

It is difficult always to think calmly and to 
speak without passion on a problem such as 
this, but a deliberate attempt has been made to 
state the facts in all fairness and calmness. It 
is believed that the educated men of the South 
will be glad to study these facts in the same 
spirit. In them alone do we have any large 
hope, for most of the untrained men are too full 
of prejudice to face fairly or solve justly such 
a momentous question. On the college men, 
therefore, rests the burden of responsibility in 
this matter. 

If this little volume arouses new interest, and 
stimulates such careful study as will help toward 
the proper solution of this, the nation's greatest 
problem, the writer will be more than satisfied. 

W. D. Weatherford. 
Nashville, Tenn., 
June, I, 1910. 



CONTENTS 



PREFACE 



I 

WHY STUDY THE NEGRO QUESTION ? . . I 

II 

THE ECONOMIC CONDITION OF THE NEGRO . 2/ 

III 

THE HEALTH AND HOUSING OF THE NEGRO . 59 

IV 

THE EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO . . 85 

v" 

THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF THE NEGRO . -US 

VI 

WHAT CAN WE DO? . . . . I47 

BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . 17/ 



vn 



I 

WHY STUDY THE NEGRO QUESTION? 



THE DESERTED PLANTATION 

Oh, de grubbin'-hoe's a-rustin' in de co'nah, 
An' de plow's a-tumblin' down in de fiel', 

While de whippo'will's a-wailin' lak a mou'nah 
When his stubbo'n hea't is tryin' ha'd to yiel'. 

In de furrers whah de co'n was alius wavin', 

Now de weeds is growin' green an' rank an' tall; 

An' de swallers roun' de whole place is a-bravin' 
Lak dey thought deir folks had alius owned it all. 

An' de big house stan's all quiet lak an' solemn, 
Not a blessed soul in pa'lor, po'ch, er lawn ; 

Not a guest, ner not a ca'iage lef to haul 'em, 
Fu' de ones dat tu'ned de latch-string out air gone. 

An' de banjo's voice is silent in de qua'ters, 
D'ain't a hymn ner co'n-song ringin' in de air; 

But de murmur of a branch's passin' waters 
Is de only soun' dat breks de stillness dere. 

Whah's de da'kies, dem dat used to be a-dancin' 

Ev'ry night befo' de ole cabin do'? 
Whah's de chillun, dem dat used to be a-prancin' 

Er a-roUin' in de san' er on de flo'? 

Whah's ole Uncle Mordecai an' Uncle Aaron? 

Whah's Aunt Doshy, Sam, an' 'Kit, an' all de res'? 
Whah's ole Tom de da'ky fiddlah, how's he farin'? 

Whah's de gals dat used to sing an' dance de bes'? 

Gone! Not one o' dem is lef to tell de story; 

Dey have lef de deah ole place to fall away. 
Couldn't one o' dem dat seed it in its glory 

Stay to watch it in de hour of decay? 

Dey have lef de ole plantation to de swallers, 
But it hoi's in me a lover till de las'; 

Fu' I fin' hyeah in de memory dat follers 
All dat loved me an' dat I loved in de pas'. 

So I'll stay an' watch de deah ole place an' tend it 
Ez I used to in de happy days gone by. 

'Twell do othah Mastah thinks it's time to end it, 
An' calls me to my quarters in de sky. 

— Paul Laurence Dunbar. 



WHY STUDY THE NEGRO QUESTION? 

Foreword 

In a time like ours when there are so many 
vital subjects demanding attention, and every 
subject is represented by many books, it is only 
legitimate that men should ask, "Why study the 
race question?" ^f it is not a question of first 
importance, if it does not have to do with our 
daily lives, if it does not vitally affect our phy- 
sical, intellectual or moral well-being separately 
or collectively, then there can be no urgent neces- 
sity for the study of this question. If, on the 
other hand, it can be shown that this race prob- 
lem enters into every relationship in Southern 
life, if it can be shown that our health, our in- 
tellectual advancement, and our moral lives are 
hedged about and often limited by the disease, 
the ignorance, and the immorality of anotlicr 
race; and if it can be further shown that we, as 
Christian college men, have an opportunity to 
better these conditions, we will have a sufficient 
reason for the study of so difficult a question. 

Our Ignorance of the Facts 

My first answer to why we should study this 
question is, that we, as Southern college men, 
are woefully ignorant of the facts. It has been 

3 



4 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

said hundreds of times in print and from the 
platform that this question cannot be handled by 
the Northern man, because he is hundreds of 
miles removed from the scene of action, and 
does not know the facts. I believe that most of 
the Northern men are coming to accept the truth 
of this statement, and most of the best informed 
negroes, such as Booker T. Washington, are 
saying plainly that the North does not and can- 
not know, at least under present conditions, the 
real race problem. With this first statement, 
there is always coupled the second, that the 
Southern white man does know and can there- 
fore solve the Southern race question. I de- 
liberately challenge this statement. I feel per- 
fectly sure that we, as Southern white men, know 
much more of real negro life than men of other 
sections can possibly know ; I feel sure also of 
the fact that the best and more broad minded 
men of the South are more intensely interested in 
this question than men in any other section can 
possibly be ; and I further feel sure that this 
question, if ever solved, must be solved by the 
broad minded Southern men leading the way 
and calling to their aid the broad minded and 
philanthropic men of all the nation. But do we 
as Southern men know the negro? 

Knowledge of Servant Class Only 

We know the negro as a hired servant in our 
homes. We know Aunt Mary, who cooks our 
meals, who waits on our table or acts as house- 
maid in our homes. We know John, the butler, 
or the coachman, or the srardener. We know 



WHY STUDY THE NEGRO QUESTION? 5 

the day laborer who cleans the street or hauls 
the coal, or runs the grocery wagon. We know 
one or two negro men who, because of more 
intelligence, have positions as mail carriers, and 
perhaps we know half a dozen negroes who, be- 
cause of skill and hard work, have entered the 
list of skilled employment. But all of these we 
know only in their work. We do not know 
their thought; we do not know their religious 
life ; we do not know their home life. 

The Church, the Home, the School 

Probably the three best indices of the real 
character of a people are their religion, their 
schools and their homes. Of the religious life 
of the negro, we, as Southern men, know almost 
nothing. Most of us have not visited half a 
dozen negro churches in our lives, and then only 
as onlookers, rather than attempting to enter 
into the spirit of the service and trying to find 
its real message. Neither have we studied 
their school life. We have passed the negro 
school house every day of our lives, have seen 
the negro college perched on the hill, but never 
have we visited these places more than once or 
twice to see what was actually going on in them. 
It has never occurred to most of us that these 
school buildings have anything of interest for 
us, and nine cases out of ten we do not know the 
negro preacher or the negro teacher who pre- 
sides over the nearest church or school. Neither 
do we know the home life of the negro. I have 
again and again asked groups of college men 
how many negro homes they had ever entered. 



6 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

I have rarely ever found men who had been in 
more than two or three or half a score at the 
most. Even where men have gone into negro 
homes, they have been of the poorer type. It 
has been the home of the washwoman, the cook 
or the servant man. The real life of the negro 
we do not know. There is much justice, though 
it hurts us as Southern men to admit it, in the 
statement of Ray Stannard Baker, after his 
careful and, on the whole, fair minded observa- 
tions of conditions in the South : 

"But, curiously enough, I found that these 
men rarely knew anything about the better class 
of negroes — those who were in business, or in 
independent occupations, those who owned their 
own homes. They did come into contact 
with the servant negro, the field hand, the com- 
mon laborer, who make up, of course, the great 
mass of the race. On the other hand, the best 
class of negroes did not know the higher class 
of white people, and based their suspicion and 
hatred upon the acts of the poorer sort of 
whites, with whom they naturally come into con- 
tact. The best elements of the two races are as 
far apart as if they lived in different continents ; 
and that is one of the chief causes of the grow- 
ing ' danger in the Southern situation. It is a 
striking fact that one of the first- — almost in- 
stinctive — efforts at reconstruction after the 
Atlanta riot was to bring the best element of both 
races together, so that they might, by becoming 
acquainted and gaining confidence in each other, 
^llay suspicion and bring influence to b^ar on the 



WHY STUDY THE NEGRO QUESTION? 7 

lawless elements of both white people and col- 
ored."^ 

It is not fair to judge a race by its weaker ex- 
ponents alone, neither is it fair to judge a race 
simply by one aspect of its life. We must know 
its whole life before we can claim to know the 
race. If we are to have a right to speak with 
any authority on this race question, and if we are 
to have our proper share in bringing about a true 
race adjustment, we will need to study with care 
all the essential activities of this race. To what 
other group of men can this appeal be so fairly 
made, and from what other group of men should 
there be such ready response as from college 
men? 

Self- Preservation 

Again, it is important that we study this ques- 
tion, because only a thorough knowledge of the 
situation will enable us to take such steps as will 
insure our own safety — physical, mental and 
moral. However carefully we may guard our 
contact with the negro — and no sane white man 
in the South, and few, if any, sane negroes be- 
lieve in promiscuous mingling — there can be no 
doubt that the destiny of the Southern white 
man is inextricably intertwined with that of the 
Southern black man. Whatever affects one, 
affects the other, whether we want it so or not. 

Health Relations 

Every day we put our health in the hands of the 
negro, because he cooks our meals, washes our 

1 "Following the Color Line," p. 44, 



O NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

linen, cleans our homes, and nurses our children. 
If he is clean and healthy, it is well with us ; if he 
is unclean and diseased, woe be to the white man 
whom he serves. Recently a malignant epidemic 
of typhoid fever broke out in an Alabama 
female college. A number of girls died, many 
others were in bed for weeks and months, 
some of them will never be so well again. Prof. 
William Litterer, bacteriologist of Vanderbilt 
University, Medical Department, was asked to 
make an investigation of the cause of the epi- 
demic, and after an exhaustive search the in- 
fection was traced to a negro boy employed as a 
dishwasher, "who was a walking arsenal of 
typhoid germs." Those mothers and fathers 
who lost their daughters in this epidemic would 
be easily convinced that it is worth while to 
make a careful study of the race problem with 
the purpose of seeing to it that there is better 
sanitation and health conditions among the 
negroes who work in our homes. Whether we 
sit down to dinner in our home or in a hotel. 
it is a vital question which cannot lightly be 
passed over — under what sanitary conditions 
does the negro who cooked this meal and the 
negro who served it live? To be indifferent to 
the health question of the negro is to be indiffer- 
ent to the sickness and disease which may rob us 
of our health or the health and life of our own 
loved ones. 

Intellectual Relations 

This is equally true of the intellectual life of 
the Southern white man. We are bound down 



WHY STUDY THE NEGRO QUESTION? 9 

and hedged about by the ignorance of our serv- 
ants and our laboring class. Not long since a col- 
lege president was writing to me about a college 
graduate who wanted a place in Young Men's 
Christian Association work, and in his letter he 
apologized for the poor English of this student 
in the following words : "His weakest spot is his 
spoken English, as he grew up in a community 
so thickly populated by negroes that he has never 
been able to shake off some of the dialect." It 
is probably impossible ever to estimate just how 
much of a handicap are the superstitions, the 
prejudices and the ignorant fears, which are be- 
ing daily poured into the minds of Southern 
childhood by the ignorant servant class. In 
simple self-defence, we must see to it that the 
negroes are freed from at least the grosser forms 
of ignorance and superstition. 

Moral Contagion 

Nor can we escape the moral contagion of 
close contact with those who are morally leprous. 
The latest word of psychology and sociology is 
that character is not taught but character is 
caught. Character is as contagious as measles 
or confluent smallpox. Henry Drummond 
once said: "I become a part of every 
man I meet, and every man I meet becomes 
a part of me." Almost every child in the 
well-to-do Southern home is more in the com- 
panionship of the nurse than of the mother, up 
to the age of six — that is, during those very 
impressionable days when character is just taking 
shape. Even in the less wealthy homes, the 



lO NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

child is constantly thrown into the presence of 
the servants, and if these servants be immoral 
in any sense, the consequent detriment of char- 
acter is sure. 

The constant presence of those who are im- 
pure and immoral means the gradual lowering 
of ideals, the deadening of conscience, the loss of 
the sense of sin. Who of us has not seen just 
such a process going on in a Southern house- 
hold? 

No Arraignment of Servants 

These words are not written as an arraignment 
of negro servants, for I am well aware that 
hundreds of servants are honest and true, and 
while they are usually ignorant as to books, they 
not infrequently have that truer knowledge 
gained from contact with life, and, at the same 
time, that unselfishness of spirit and genuineness 
of soul which makes them a real blessing to 
the home in which they work. But so long as 
there are many of the opposite type, so long as 
there are many who live in unsanitary hovels and 
are filthy in body, ignorant and superstitious in 
mind, and leprous in soul — just so long will they 
be a plague to our Southern white people. In 
the interest of self-defence, every intelligent 
white man must study this question, and be pre- 
pared to take his part in the physical, social, in- 
tellectual, and moral regeneration of this ne- 
glected race. 

Race Antagonism 

Again, there is need of study of this question 
because of the growing spirit of race antagonism 



WHY STUDY THE NEGRO QUESTION? II 

and unrest. That there is such an antagonism 
in certain sections can hardly be denied. The 
reasons for this are not far to seek. The passing 
away of the old-time darkey with his simplicity, 
love of the plantation, and devotion to the people 
of the "big house," the rise of the younger 
negro, with less respect, with less ability as a 
trained workman, with possibly less disposition 
to work; the rise also of the educated negro 
class, sometimes arrogant, always and rightly 
more independent ; the passing of the old planta- 
tion owners who knew the negro far better than 
the present generation of white men ; these have 
made possible less and less of real understanding 
between the two races, and have brought on 
many conditions of friction. Besides these nat- 
ural causes of race antagonism, there have been 
three classes of men who have piled fuel on the 
fire and fanned the smouldering embers into 
flame. 

Prejudiced Southern White Man 

The first is that class of Southern white men 
who are utterly incapable of seeing anything 
good in the negro. I met one of them not long 
since — a physician — who in one breath declared 
hell was too good for the negro criminal, and 
in the next breath claimed the negro had no 
soul. He was somewhat surprised and seemed 
not to catch the point when I asked him if he 
thought his horse would go to hell because in a 
fit of ill temper he kicked his master. But the 
more dangerous Southern white man is he who 
mounts the political stump and with wild gestic- 



12 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

ulations cries, "Social Equality," "Negro Dom- 
ination," "Race Amalgamation," and such other 
blood curdling shibboleths, and so stirs up such a 
race antagonism that men forget all about the 
real political issues, and the demagogue rides 
into office, at the expense of justice to the negro 
and the self-respect of the white man. We have 
had all loo many of these political demagogues — 
these so-called "defenders of the white man's 
honor and the white woman's virtue." It is high 
time that the college should know enough about 
this question not to be browbeaten and befogged 
into supporting any such cheap gerrymanderism. 

The Radical Negro 

The second man who stirs up race hatred 
is the radical negro, and I am sorry to say he 
frequently comes from the ranks of the educated. 
This type of man finds his best expression 
through the "Niagara Movement," organized by 
Prof. W. E. B. DuBois, the express object of 
v/hich is to continually protest against all forms 
of discrimination. Its purpose seems not to be 
the helping of the colored race to be worthy of 
position, but the stirring up of that race to de- 
mand and take certain so-called rights. The 
public exponent of this ideal has been the 
"Guardian," published by WilHam Monroe Trot- 
ter, in Boston. This group of men is hot in its 
denunciation of Booker T. Washington, because 
he believes in conciliation and constructive work. 
They believe that the whole regime of the pres- 
ent is wrong and should be destroyed. This atti- 
tude toward Washington is best displayed in a ref- 



WHY STUDY THE NEGRO QUESTION? I3 

erence to him by Professor DuBois: "So thor- 
oughly did he (Washington) learn the speech and 
thought of triumphant commercialism, and the 
ideals of material prosperity, that the picture of a 
lone black boy poring over a French grammar 
amid the weeds and dirt of a neglected home soon 
seemed to him the acme of absurdities. One 
wonders what Socrates and St. Francis of Assisi 
would say to this . . . It is as though Na- 
ture must make men narrow in order to give 
them force." ^ 

These men can as little see any virtue in a 
Southern white man as the Southern demagogue 
can see virtue in the negro. I cannot better cojivey 
the spirit of bitterness and hatred of this radical 
negro wing than to give one or two quota- 
tions from some of its leaders : "In general," 
says William A. Sinclair — a South CaroHna 
negro and a college graduate — "a spirit of cruel 
intolerance dominates the white population of 
the whole Southland. Its church life, despite 
the many excellent and truly Christian members, 
both men and women, betrays strange deformities 
and inconsistencies ; in large measure, ignoring 
alike the Golden Rule, the Sermon on the Mount, 
the divinely beautiful lesson of the Good Samar- 
itan, and, in short, the more vital and central 
truth of the entire teaching of Jesus himself — 
the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of 
man."^ Or, take another quotation from Professor 
Du Bois, which — whatever measure of truth 
or falsity there may be in it — has much more of 

^ "Souls of Black Folk," p. 43. 

^ "The Aftermath of Slavery," p. 4. 



14 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

bitterness. Speaking of slavery, he says : ''So after 
the war, and even to this day, the religious and 
ethical life of the South bows beneath this bur- 
den. Shrinking from facing the burning ethical 
questions that front it unrelentingly, the Southern 
Church clings all the more tenaciously to the let- 
ter, of a wornout orthodoxy, while its inner, 
truer soul crouches before and fears to answer 
the problem of eight niiUion black neighbors. It 
therefore assiduously 'preaches Christ crucified' 
in prayer meeting patois, and crucifies 'niggers' 
in unrelenting daily life."^ Such wholesale and 
bitter denunciations of a whole people can be 
notjiing else than the expression of prejudice 
rather than the word of statesmanship. 

Northern Enthusiast 

The third disturbing element is that of the 
Northern enthusiast who feels sure he could 
settle the whole race question if he had a few 
years to give to it. It is a source of real rejoic- 
ing to most men who earnestly face this question 
that this tribe is rapidly dying out. Were it not 
for these disturbing elements, the relations be- 
tween the races would be cordial enough. . It is 
gratifying to note that in spite of them Dr. 
Booker T. Washington, after an extended tour 
through South Carolina, can say: 

Booker T. Washington's Testimony 

"My object in going on this educational tour 
was to see for myself the actual condition of my 
own race, and to say a word wherever I could 

^ "The Negro in the South," p. 170. 



WHY STUDY THE NEGRO QUESTION? 1 5 

that would improve their Hfe, and to note the 
actual relations existing between white people 
and black people, and to make a suggestion 
wherever I could that would further promote 
friendly relations. Of course, in a great State 
like South Carolina one cannot fail to see many 
things that are wrong, that are unjust, that need 
changing for the better. Notwithstanding this 
fact, I was surprised from the beginning to the 
end of the trip at the tremendous progress that 
the negro race is making, and at the friendly re- 
lations existing between black people and white 
people, 

"In South Carolina, as in most parts of the 
South, I found the individual relations between 
black and white nearly all that could be hoped 
for. We frequently get a wrong impression of 
conditions in the South because we place too 
much dependence upon utterances made in Con- 
gress or in newspapers, or when some one is on 
parade. Everywhere I went I found at least one 
white man who believed implicitly in one negro ; 
I found at least one negro who believed implicitly 
in one white man ; and so it goes all through the 
South. So long as these individual relations are 
as kindly as they are, there is great hope for the 
future."^ 

The fact remains, however, that there is no 
small amount of unrest and race prejudice, which 
it behooves every sane searcher for truth and 
every true lover of his Southland to allay where 
possible. This can only be done after a careful 
and fair minded study of the whole race problem. 

1 Outlook, May i, 1909. 



l6 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

Rightly Directed Progress 

There is also need for study of this problem in 
order that the future advancement of the negro 
may be in the right direction. If we look to the 
single department of education, we must be con- 
vinced that the negro is advancing and will con- 
tinue to advance whether we like it or not. If 
we of the South do not help direct this growing 
intellectual life, they of the North will, and we 
shall have no one but ourselves to blame if the 
education is falsely directed. Any one who 
fairly investigates the history of Northern phil- 
anthropy must be struck with the large un- 
selfishness of the givers, even if their zeal does 
sometimes seem to act without sufficient knowl- 
edge. Much of this money has been poorly ad- 
ministered because we as Southern men, who 
,ought to have been in position to give sane coun- 
sel, have not sufficiently studied this question to 
be able to formulate any reasonable constructive 
policy. After his tour through South Carolina 
to which I have referred, Booker T. Washington 
wrote to the Outlook: 

"1 was convinced, too, as I made this trip 
through the State of South Carolina, that more 
and more in the future an effort should be made 
to speak directly to the best type of Southern 
white people about our methods and aims in 
the education of the negro. There is too much 
discussion at long distance. In many cases the 
white people in the South do not understand the 
methods that are being pursued, nor the object 
sought. In proportion as we are perfectly frank 
with each other the difficulties are going to dis- 



WHY STUDY THE NEGRO QUESTION? \J 

appear, and larger amounts of money are going 
to be forthcoming from the South itself for the 
education of the black man." 

There is further need of a constructive edu- 
cational policy for the negro, because for every 
dollar given by Northern philanthropy, we 
ourselves have paid out of our own pockets 
probably ten dollars in taxes toward the ne- 
gro public school. Up to 1906 it was estimated 
by the United States Commissioner of Education 
that for this purpose alone the South had paid 
$132,000,000 since the war. Mr. W. T. B. 
Williams, Field Agent of the Slater Fund, writ- 
ing in the "Southern Workman," Nov., 1908, 
estimates the amount spent on negro public 
schools since 1870 at $155,000,000. During 
this period the illiteracy of the negro has been 
reduced by half. The negro is therefore being 
educated, however slowly. But how is he being 
educated? Is his increasing knowledge such as 
fits him for larger and better usefulness and for 
more worthy citizenship? Is he being educated 
away from life or into a truer life? These are 
the pertinent questions which every educated man 
of to-day must help to answer. Up to the present 
time, be it said to our shame, we have done little 
as Southern white men to answer these questions 
properly. It is no more than truth to say that 
General Armstrong, a Northern white man and 
a Union soldier, the founder of Hampton Insti- 
tute, and Booker T. Washington, a Southern 
negro and an ex-slave, the founder of Tuskegee, 
have probably done more than any dozen South- 
ern white men to answer these questions aright. 



I» NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

We need more Southern men who can write and 
speak with the knowledge and sanity of Edgar 
Gardner Murphy, in his "The Present South" if 
we are to give proper direction to this new in- 
tellectual movement. 

Encouragement 

Again, we should study this question in order 
that we may know the encouragement of the 
negro's progress. Not a few Southern men have 
become darkly pessimistic about the future of the 
negro race. Some think that the door of hope- 
is forever shut in his face. I must confess that, 
although a Southern man, reared in the midst 
of the large negro population of Texas, and at- 
tending college in Nashville, a city where 
negro education is at its best, I have been 
constantly surprised at the marvellous progress 
of the negro race. In 1908, Ray Stannard Baker 
estimated that negroes owned 1,400,000 acres 
of land in the State of Georgia alone, and paid 
taxes on $28,000,000 worth of property. Prof. 
John W. Gilbert, one of the most capable and 
sane negro leaders . in the South, has re- 
cently estimated that negroes own 200,000 farms, 
worth approximately $700,000,000, and that 
$500,000,000 worth of these farms are en- 
tirely free of debt; that in 1900, in cities and vil- 
lages, negroes owned 126,329 homes free from 
debt ; and that negroes — not stinting in their con- 
tributions — have built churches valued at $40,- 
000,000. Forty-eight per cent, of the race are 
members of churches, and the generous contribu- 
tions they make annually to missions would put 



WHY STUDY THE NEGRO QUESTIOX ? I9 

to shame many of our wealthy white churches. 
Booker T. Washing^ton has said, again and 
again, that fifty-seven per cent, of the negro race 
is now hterate, although forty years ago illiteracy 
was well-night universal. 

But these figures are abstract, and the real 
story of race progress is only thoroughly 
understood when one goes into the best bar- 
ber shop in Atlanta and finds it owned and 
operated by a negro, with negro barbers 
at the chairs, or visits a Georgia plantation 
of a thousand acres — as it is possible to do — 
owned by one negro, or goes into the home of an 
educated negro, as I did recently in Texas — 
where the building is commodious and modern, 
where there are good carpets on the floors, a piano 
in the parlor, and you could not tell from appear- 
ances that a white banker did not live there. Or, 
if one wants further to be convinced of this 
progress, let him visit a high-grade negro church. 
Some months ago one of the connectional officers 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church South and I 
had to break our journey across the South by 
stopping in a Southern city to spend Sunday. At 
eleven o'clock we went up to the first church and 
listened to a good average, sermon from the 
pastor. After the service we went for a walk 
before dinner and chanced to come upon a lead- 
ing negro church. We went in, and found the 
first floor filled to overflowing with a well- 
dressed, orderly and reverent congregation — it 
would seem more than a thousand — so we were 
shown to the gallery by a polite and altogether 
well-appearing negro. The sermon had just 



20 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

begun from the text: "I am the way, the truth 
and the Hfe." It was clear, logical, filled with 
practical and helpful truth, and as it progressed 
my connectional officer and preacher friend 
leaned over and whispered to me: "The white 
church would do mighty well to trade preachers 
with this negro church." And he was perfectly 
right. The whole service was of a high order, 
and would have done grace to any white church 
I ever attended. 

Tuskegee^ 

Or, if one prefers, let him visit Tuskegee, and 
look into the faces of fourteen hundred negro 
boys and girls ; hear their trained chorus of a 
hundred voices render the old plantation melodies 
with matchless power; go to their wood shops, 
blacksmith shops, model laundry, bakery, millin- 
ery establishment, and see the splendid work 
done; hold a Bible study institute for five hours 
on a hot spring day without anybody leaving; 
see five hundred and twenty-five men enroll in 
the voluntary study of the Bible ; and three years 
later learn that the number has grown to seven 
hundred and thirty ; finally, let him learn that not 
a single graduate of this school has ever been in 
jail for any crime whatsoever — and if he does not 
have some hope for the negro and believe he is 
making substantial progress, he would be hard to 
convince. 

Physical Needs 

Lastly, we should study the problem for the 
sake of the help it will enable us to render a 



WHY STUDY THE NEGRO QUESTION? 21 

backward race in its hour of need. These needs 
are, first of all, physic al. So long as millions of 
these people live in the one-roomed cabin, which 
is poorly ventilated, poorly heated, and not 
lighted at all ; so long as millions more live in 
the crowded tenement section or in the damp 
alleys of our cities in houses that have neither 
sanitation nor comfort ; so long as the bath tub is 
almost an unknown luxury in the great mass of 
negro homes; so long as four, five, or even ten 
negroes are sleeping in one crowded little tene- 
ment room ; so long as the death rate of negroes 
is from eight to twelve more per thousand than 
that for white people; so long as deaths from 
venereal diseases among colored people are six to 
seven times as great as among white people — if 
the Alabama statistics for certain periods can be 
trusted — and so long as the negro mortality from 
consumption in many of our leading cities is from 
fifty to one hundred and fifty per cent, in advance 
of the corresponding white mortality — just so 
long will the Southern white man have an obliga- 
tion to study these facts, find their causes, and 
apply cures. 

Intellectual Needs 

The next great need of the negro is training. 
While marvellous progress has been made, forty- 
three per cent, of this race is illiterate. Even 
if $155,000,000 has been spent on public 
schools for negroes since 1870, the average length 
of school term has never been and is not now over 
seventy days per year^ According to the report 

^ School reports for the present year make a much 
better showing than this. 



22 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

of the Superintendent of Colored Normal Schools 
in North Carolina for the year 1908, the average 
cost of public school buildings used for negro 
schools was $124.37. Out of 2,198 such build- 
ings, only 64 had patent desks — all the others 
being furnished with simple benches. This makes 
any genuine school work next to impossible. In 
thirty counties in this State, the country school 
teachers were paid less than seventeen dollars 
per month on the average, and in these counties 
there were 59,665 negro children of school age, 
and yet it is a known fact that, in proportion to 
her wealth, North Carolina is spending more than 
almost any other State in the Union on the edu- 
cation of her youth. Surely the knowledge of 
such facts should impel us to do more for gen- 
eral education. In addition, there is the greatest 
need of industrial and mechanical education. 
According to a computation of Thomas Jesse 
Jones in the "Southern Workman," March, 1909, 
the product per agricultural worker in 1900 was 
for the State of Iowa, $1,088; for New Hamp- 
shire, $477; Alabama, $150.98; North Carolina, 
$149.75 ; South Carolina, $147.46, or the Iowa 
worker, largely because of greater skill, is able 
to produce more than seven times as much wealth 
annually as the worker in South Carolina. We 
in the South cannot afford to allow this disparity 
of wealth producing ability to continue. There 
are at present a few thousand students in in- 
dustrial schools like Tuskegee and Hampton 
Institute, but the number ought to be multiplied 
ten-fold. Who will see that this is done if we 
of the South remain ignorant of our great in- 



WHY STUDY THE NEGRO QUESTION .^ 23 

dustrial n€ed ? Why leave this mass of humanity 
in a half- fed and half-starved condition? Why 
not train their hands and their heads so that they 
may not only secure competence for themselves, 
but r,dd millions annually to the wealth of the 
section. What we need more than any other one 
element in our Southern industrial life is trained 
laborers. There are eight million negroes in our 
very midst; the graduates of Hampton and Tus- 
kegee have forever dispelled the doubt that 
they can be made efficient workmen by proper 
training; when will there be enough of construc- 
tive study and statesmanship in the South to 
harness this mighty force and make it the wonder 
of the world in its wealth producing power ? 

As Mr. Murphy has put it : *'The only real peril 
ojf our situation is, not in any aspect of the 
negro's wise and legitimate progress, but rather 
in the danger that the negro will know so little, 
will do so little, and will increasingly care so 
little about knowing and doing, that the great 
black mass of his numbers, his ignorance, his idle- 
ness, and his lethargy will drag forever like a 
cancerous and suffocating burden at the heart of 
our Southern Hfe,"^ 

Moral Needs 

Lastly, one must mention the moral needs of 
the negro. While forty-eight per cent, of the 
whole colored population of the South has a 
church affiliation, and while $40,000,000 have 
been invested in churches, there is nevertheless a 
terrible moral corruption that eats at the vitals 

1 "The Present South," p. 61. 



24 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

of the negro race. A Christian negro physician 
told me recently that ninety-eight per cent, was 
a low estimate for the negro men who have been 
socially impure. Cheap whiskey and cocaine are 
doing their deadly work for literally thousands of 
negro men and women. Profanity, gambling and 
debauchery are everywhere prevalent. All of 
these vices are destroying the body and damning 
the souls of countless thousands. Add to this 
the fact that in the rural churches the religion is 
all too frequently of an emotional type, which 
is completely divorced from ethical action, and 
the further fact that not infrequently the minister 
is himself leprous with the sins of laziness, dis- 
honesty and impurity and the picture darkens un- 
til one is most sick at heart. 

What shall we do about such crying needs as 
these? Shall we close our eyes and remain in 
blissful ignorance? Shall we waive the whole 
matter aside and say that the race is unworthy of 
our attention and effort? Or shall we fairly face 
these problems and do our part in bringing to 
them a real solution ? It is always easier to close 
one's ey,es to the hard and unpleasant things of 
life — but is it always manly? No man has ever 
been a prophet to humanitywho has not faced the 
facts, however unpleasant. He who is not will- 
ing to bear the heartache of knowing the world's 
sorrow and suffering and sin can never know 
the joy of being a messenger of a new and 
brighter day. One is profoundly sorry for that 
sweet girl graduate who went home with her 
diploma in her hand after hearing a commence- 
ment address on the struggle of men, and, throw- 



WHY STUDY THE NEGRO QUESTION? 25 

ing herself into a chair, said : "^'Oh, mother, I wish 
people wouldn't talk so much about the struggles 
and hardships of the masses — it makes one so un- 
comfortable." 

The White Man's Obligation 

It is just because the negro is ignorant; just 
because he is having a hard battle to win indus- 
trial competence ; just because he is sinking under 
the burdens of awful diseases; and just because 
he has not yet attained unto the full stature of 
moral manhood that every college man is under 
obligation to know and better his condition. ; It 
is because we of the South love our homes and 
want to protect them,'', that we_must no longer 
remain^ ignorant of this question.' It is because 
we are born in a section immortalized by such 
spirits as Lee and Jackson, who gave their lives 
for its welfare, that we, in this hour of our South- 
land's greatest need, will not prove traitors, but 
will, with the hearts of true sons, bring to its aid 
the largest knowledge, the sanest judgment, the 
clearest thought which loyal sons can bring. 



II 



THE ECONOMIC CONDITION OF THE 
NEGRO 



SLOW THROUGH THE DARK 

Slow moves the pageant of a climbing race; 

Their footsteps drag far, far below the height, 

And, unprevailing by their utmost might. 
Seems faltering downward from each won place. 
No strange, swift-sprung exception we; we trace 

A devious way thro' dim, uncertain light — 

Our hope, through the long-vistaed years, a sight 
Of that our Captain's soul sees face to face. 

Who, faithless, faltering that the road is steep. 
Now raiseth up his drear insistent cry? 

Who stoppeth here to spend a while in sleep, 
Or curses that the storm obscures the sky? 

Heed not the darkness round you, dull and deep; 
The clouds grown thickest when the summit's high. 

— Paul Laurence Dunbar. 



II 

THE ECONOMIC CONDITION OF THE 
NEGRO 

i One can scarcely hope to understand the eco- 
nomic life of the American negro without at least 
a brief glance at the economic conditions in 
Africa, his native home. Most of the American 
slaves were brought from that section of Africa 
extending from the Congp region to the north- 
ward and around the Gulf of Guinea. They were 
largely taken from the Bantus and the Nigri- 
tians occupying this territory. This is the most 
fertile section of Africa — if we exclude 
the Nile Valley — including a large part of 
the banana zone, where the native lives upon 
the bounties of nature almost without labor. 
The banana and plantain grow in abundance and 
fish and game are easily secured. No man needs 
to lie awake at night wondering from whence 
his next day's provisions will come. They are 
all about him and will almost fall into his hands 
without the effort to reach forth for them. 

Little Division of Labor in Africa 

There is very little division of labor in this 
section, for there are no trades, though a little 
blacksmithing, pottery making, dyeing, basket 
weaving, cattle raising, poultrying, etc., are car- 
ried on. Most of the work is done by the 
29 



30 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

womeu. Where there is need of more laborers, 
the men, rather than work themselves, have from 
time immemorial enslaved their neighbors; so 
that slavery is native to Africa and is not in any 
sense an institution introduced into African life 
by the vi^hite man. The ancestry of the Ameri- 
can negro having been surrounded by such con- 
ditions, it is hardly aiccurate to apply the term 
"economic" to the earlier stages of his develop- 
ment. 

Negro Needed to Learn to Work 

When the negro came to America the great- 
est need he had was to learn to work. It is the 
recognition of this fact that has led not a few 
people into the error of thinking that slavery was 
an unmixed blessing to the negro. As an institu- 
tion, it cannot be said to have been a blessing, 
though out of it did come some rich blessings to 
the slave. It is necessary to see what slavery did 
for the negro before we can fully appreciate his 
present economic life. 1^ Lest I be misunderstood, 
I wish to let Principal Booker T. Washington 
speak to this point : "The climatic and other new 
conditions required that the slave should wear 
clothing, a thing, for the most part, new to him. 
. . . The economic element not only made it 
necessary that the negro slave should be clothed 
for the sake of decency and in order to preserve 
his health, but the same considerations made it 
necessary that he should be housed and taught 
the comforts to be found in a home. Within 
a few months, then, after the arrival of the negro 
in America, he was wearing clothes and liv- 



GCONOMIC CONDITION OF THE NEGRO 3 1 

ing in a house —no inconsiderable step in the di- 
rection of morality and Christianity. . . . 
There is another important element.. In his na- 
tive country, owing to climatic conditions, and 
also because of his few simple and crude wants, 
the negro before coming to America had little 
necessity to labor. . . . Notwithstanding the 
fact that in most cases the element of compulsion 
entered into the labor of the slave, and the main 
object sought was the enrichment of the owner, 
the American negro had, under the regime of 
slavery, his first lesson, in anything like contin- 
uous, progressive systematic laborJ I have said 
that two of the signs of Christianity are clothes 
and houses, and now I add a third, "work".* 

Influence of Labor on Character 

^The necessity of continued and systematic la- 
bor is one of the hardest lessons which humanity 
has had to learn, but it is just in proportion as 
this lesson is learned that civilization has prog- 
ressed. If one goes into Africa to-day and 
starts northward from the Equator he will pass 
successively through the banana zone, the grain 
zone, the cattle zone and the desert or camel 
zone. In the first, the native does not have to 
labor for food, and civilization is at an extremely 
low ebb. Prof. Dowd has said of these vegetarian 
negroes th^t they are the most brutal people in 
the world, j Moral life here is very low, and polit- 
ical organization almost unknown, save among, 
the Ashantis and the Dahomans. As one moves 
northward into the second section mentioned, 

i"The Negro in the South," pp. 18-21 passim. 



32 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

the grain zone, he discovers that fruit is less 
abundant, nature more niggardly, and that, con- 
sequently, man must begin to labor to sustain 
life. A marked improvement is seen here in the 
moral, social, and intellectual conditions. When 
one goes still further, into the cattle-raising zone, 
where still more of vigilance and labor must be 
bestowed on the flocks and herds, he notices 
that the advancement in civilization is even more 
marked. Labor seems to bring out the best qual- 
ities of human nature ; it seems to give stability 
and strength to character. No nation or indi- 
vidual can hope to build real character where la- 
bor is despised. Perhaps this is one reason for 
the frequent degeneration of the idle rich. 

If, then, slavery did teach the negro the les- 
son of systematic labor, p'rincipal Washington 
is surely right in maintaining that this lesson 
was one of the first steps in the life of the negro 
toward civilization, morality, and Christianity.] 

Early Slaves Were Unskilled Laborers 

;.The work of the slave was always, on the 
whole, heavy labor, in distinction from skilled la- 
bor; and this was peculiarly true when he first 
landed in America. He was then entirely un- 
trained and fitted only for the crudest and sim- 
plest forms of work. But as years went by, these 
people began to get that training which fitted 
them to become the skilled laborers of the South.^ 
^he large plantation system was most favorable/ 
to such training. Every plantation was a little 
world within itself, where practically every article 
of consumption was hand-made. Hence it came 



ECONOMIC CONDITION OF THE NEGRO 33 

about that most of the larger plantations had 
slaves trained to be blacksmiths, carpenters, shoe- 
makers, wheelwrights, seamstresses, expert cooks, 
etc. In this way thousands of negroes received 
a practical and efficient technical education, 
which they have sadly missed since slavery days. 
Dr. Washington in speaking of this phase of 
slavery says : "I do not overstate the matter when 
I say that I am quite sure that in one county 
in the South during the days of slavery there 
were more colored youths being taught trades 
than there are members of my race now being 
taught trades in any of the larger cities of the 
North".! ' 

Skilled Laborers Among Slaves 

/ The result of all this was that, at the opening 
oi^ the Civil War, the negroes of the South had 
wellnigh a monopoly of all the forms of mechan- 
ical and skilled labon One who learned his 
trade under a slave aytisan writes as follows : ^ 
"One needs only to go down South and examine 
hundreds of old Southern mansions and splen- 
did old church edifices, still intact, to be con- 
vinced of the fact of the cleverness of the negro 
artisan who constructed nine-tenths of them, and 
many of them still provoke the admiration of 
all who see them, and are not to be despised by 
the men of our day. . . . Much has been 
said of the new negro for the new century, but 
with all his training he will have to take a long 



^ "The Negro in the South," p. 24. 
2 "The Negro Artisan," pp. 16 and 19. 



34 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

Stride in mechanical skill before he reaches the 
point of practical efficiency where the old negro 
of the old century left off." 

Labor Considered Degrading 

I \ But it must be remembered that slavery had 
another side in relation to the economig training 
of the negroJ (^Vhile it did train him to work, 
it nevertheless tauglit him to connect all labor 
with the condition of slavery. % It was inevitable 
that he should feel that labor was degrading, 
since he saw the slave owners keeping free 
from manual toil. The outcome was natural — 
that when he attained freedom he turned his 
back on all manual labprj The race has not yet 
been able to overcome this false conception, and 
it is not to be required that it should have done 
so in two generations.) Those of us who are 
disposed to condemn the negro in a wholesale 
manner, for his laziness and unwillingness to 
work systematically, need to remember the time 
in our own childho(M when labor was a night- 
mare, though we would readily have done 
the same things had they been called play. It 
was the word "work" that annoyed and bullied 
us ; one needs only to know boys to-day to see the 
dread inspired by that word. 

(This aversion to work because it was a slave's 
part, and the firm belief that the national gov- 
ernment planned to care for and feed the newly 
emancipated slave, sent thousands of them from 
the farms and plantations, at the close of the 
war to wander aimlessly about seeking a living, 
but unwilling to labor for the same.i 

/ 



ECONOMIC CONDITION OF THE NEGRO 35 

Negro Overcoming Aversion to Work 

( Little by little the negro is overcoming this 
aversion to manual toil. This fact is dearly 
proved by the new attitude tov^ard industrial ed- 
ucation. When it was first started in Hampton 
Institute by General Armstrong, the race as a 
whole — in so far as it knew of this type of train- 
ing — rose up in arms against it. Dr. Washing- 
ton has said again and again that he met the 
bitterest opposition from parents when he inaug- 
urated his work at Tuskegee. These parents 
protested that they had worked all their lives 
and they wanted their children trained in the 
*'Books." "I remember that for a number of 
years after the founding of the Tuskegee Insti- 
tute, objection on the part of parents and on 
the part of students poured in upon me from 
day to day. The parents said that they wanted 
their children taught "the book," but they did not 
want them taught anything concerning farming 
or household duties. It was curious to note how 
most of the people worshiped "the book." The 
parent did not care what was inside the book ; the 
harder and longer the name of it, the better it 
satisfied the parent every time; and the more 
books you could require the child to purchase, the 
better teacher you were. His reputation as a 
first-class pedagogue was added to very largely 
in that section if the teacher required the child 
to buy a long string of books each year and 
each month. I found some white people who 
had the same idea. . . . From Hampton and 
Tuskegee and other large educational centres 
the idea of industrial education has spread 



^6 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

throughout the South, and there are now scores 
of institutions that are giving this kind of train- 
ing in a most effective and helpful manner; so 
that, in my opinion, the greatest thing we have 
accomplished for the negro race within the last 
twenty-five years has been to rid his mind of 
all idea of labor's being degrading. This has 
been no inconsiderable achievement. |lf I were 
asked to point out the greatest change accom- 
plished for the negro race, I would say that it 
was not a tangible, physical change, but a change 
of the spirit-4-the new idea of our people with 
respect to negro labor." >} 

House Servants Not Yet Very Reliable 

V^This change of ideals and spirit is less marked 
in^ some classes of negroes than in others. 
In the lower classes, where the wants are few 
and where the standards of living are very low, 
labor is avoided just as much as possible. If 
three days' wages will support an individual 
for the week, then three days' labor per 
week is about all that can be got out of that in< 
dividual. Many of the housekeepers of the 
South have become utterly discouraged with and 
have lost faith in the race, because the least rain 
or an especially cold wave or hot weather — in 
fact almost anything in the way of a change- 
serves as a ^jrete xt to keep their cooks and house- 
maids away from their duties. So marvelous is 
the number of "grandmothers" and "uncles" and 
"aunts" some maids lose by death — and they of 
course, must attend the funeral and lose at least 

1 "The Negro in the South," p. 48 and p. 50. 



ECONOMIC CONDITION OF THE NEGRO 2)7 

two days of work — one begins to feel that some 
of the house servants must be first-cousins to 
every negro in the city. 

Southern White Women Pessimistic 

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of house 
servants, it is not strange that the women of the 
South are often incHned to take a much more 
gloomy view of the future of the negro than 
are the men. But I should not be fair if I did 
not say here that very few Southern white women 
ever know or have any contact whatever with 
the better class of negroes or even with the mid- 
dle class. The house servants as a whole belong, 
to the lowest strata of negro life ; they have had 
less training an^ are more lacking in ambition 
than any other class. The demand is so large 
that they can get work at almost any hour ; there- 
fore they feel practically independent. 

The present situation is not altogether the 
fault of this type of negro. ^He has no train- 
ing. ^ B|e has , not been taught to take a pride 
in his work.) ' He has failed to develop any real 
desire for comforts at hom4 It is not at all 
strange that he should be immoral, lazy and 
untrustworthy. It ought to be said also that 
far too litde care is often exercised to train 
the servants in our homes. We show too little 
interest in them. We have never seen the in- 
side of their homes. We have never done any- 
thing to make their home lives a little more bear- 
able. We have taken no interest in them out- 
side of what they do for us, and consequently 
they take no interest in us outside of what they 



38 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

can get from us. It is not far from a game of 
"tit for tat." 

Possibilities of Better House Servants 

That even this type of negro is capable of 
faithfulness and systematic labor can be proved 
by unnumbered cases of the servant class. I 
know many homes where the cook or house- 
maid has given continuous service for five, ten 
or fifteen years. We have in my own home a 
faithful old cook who was trained up under the 
slave regime; and although she is getting old 
now, she is as conscientious, as punctual, as ef- 
ficient in her service as one could possibly ask 
any servant to be. This woman had splendid 
training in her girlhood and she has never got 
away from it. She not only knows how, but 
she is willing and glad to work. What we need 
at present in the South is a little more care in 
the training of house servants. Thousands of 
Southern white women take a genuine interest 
in their servants, visit them when they are sick, 
try to improve their home life, and endeavor 
in every way possible to elevate them and make 
them more efficient, just as the best mistresses did 
in slave days. But there are many others who 
take no such interest. We ourselves must con- 
tinue to suffer the consequences of servants 
poorly trained and lacking in a sense of respon- 
sibility. When all the women in the South take 
a genuine interest in the negro women and girls 
in their homes there will be the dawning of a new 
day in the condition of the servant, 



ECONOMIC CONDITION OF THE NEGRO 39 

The South's Debt of Gratitude to the Negro 

One need not stop here to lay emphasis on 
the large part which the slave had in the building 
of the economic life of the South before the 
War. To the negro the South owes a debt of 
real gratitude for its rapid agricultural growth; 
and in no less degree does every true son of the 
South owe the negro a debt of gratitude for 
his unselfishness, his faithfulness, and his de- 
votion to the whites of the section during the 
dark and bloody days of the Civil War. Look- 
ing back on that period from the present unrest, 
one marvels that, during all those days of civil 
strife, no planter ever had the least fear in leav- 
ing his wife and daughters in the care of the 
trusted slave. So far as I have been able to 
learn, not a single slave ever betrayed that sacred 
trust. 

Present Conditions— The Farmer 

We must turn now and ask. What can be 
seen in the present life of the negro as the effect 
of the long apprenticeship in slavery? Looking 
first at the negro farmer, one is not altogether 
encouraged. One can hardly read a sadder story 
than that told in such beautiful English by Pro- 
fessor Du Bois in his "Souls of Black Folk." 
Here he pictures the negro farmer in Dougherty 
County, Georgia. Poor, shiftless, living in brok- 
en-down houses, tilling the barren and unpro- 
ductive soil, with worthless stock for which he 
has paid double prices, and carrying always a 
load of debt which enslaves him to the store- 
keeper. The old slave owner moved away after 



40 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

the War because the land was too poor to sup- 
port him, and his land was rented to the poor 
whites. Later, the poor whites found the cul- 
tivation of this land unprofitable ; so, they moved 
out and left the negro to eke out his meagre 
living from the impoverished soil. This is all too 
true a picture of a large part of South Carolina 
and of other sections of the South. The blight 
of all these poorer sections of the South has 
been the wasteful and unscientific methods of 
farming. Nor is one much more encouraged 
when he studies the conditions of the negro farm 
tenant in the richer land sections of Mississippi, 
Louisiana, and Arkansas. Here the large plan- 
tations still retain much of the nature of the old 
slave regime, with its negro quarters, its broad 
acreage, etc. There is one striking icontrast-r- 
the wholesale moving of the tenants at the end 
of the year. Here the negro must be fed from 
the proprietor's commissary, just as the slaves 
were formerly fed from the master's "smoke 
house." At the end of the year the negro not 
infrequently finds his account at the commissary 
to be larger than the assets from his crop, with 
the result that he is still a slave, though now 
his bondage is not legal but economic. 

Mr. Stone's Experiments 

Perhaps the best picture of the dark side of 
this type of tenantry is drawn by Mr. Stone in 
his "Studies in the American Race Problem." 

After discussing some discouraging experi- 
ments which he himself tried in Mississippi, he 
goes on to give an account of cotton raising 



ECONOMIC CONDITION OF THE NEGRO 4I 

by Italian laborers in the state of Arkansas. The 
comparison with negro labor is not very favor- 
able. 

"The number of Italian squads in 1898 was 
38, with 200 working hands, cultivating 1,200 
acres of cotton. Of negro squads there were 
203, with 600 working hands, cultivating 2,600 
acres of cotton. At the end of 1905, after eight 
years, there were on the property 107 Italian 
squads, with 500 working hands, and 38 negro 
families, with 175 working hands — an increase 
of 69 squads and 300 hands for the Ital- 
ians, a decrease of 105 squads and 425 hands for 
the negro. The total cotton acreage has increased 
to 3,900, of which the Italians are cultivating 
3,000 acres and the negroes 900. This bare 
statement of numerical loss and gain is of itself 
pregnant with meaning. 

"This gives us the following results: Average 
number of squads Italians 52, negroes 167, aver- 
age number of working hands, Italians 269 
negroes 433 ; average number of acres per work- 
ing hand, Italians, 6,2, negroes 5.1 ; average 
pounds of lint per hand, Italians 2,584, negroes 
1,174; average pounds of lint per acre, Italians 
403, negroes 233; average cash product value 
per hand (cotton and seed), Italians $277,36, 
negroes $128.47; average cash product value per 
acre, Italians $44.77, negroes $26.36. Thus the 
Italian is seen to have produced more lint per 
hand, by 1,410 pounds, or 120.1 per cent, 
and to have exceeded the negro yield per acre by 
170 pounds or 72.9 per cent. The difference in 
money value in favor of the Italian was $148.89 



42 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

per hand, or 115.8 per cent, and $18.41 per acre, 
or 69.8 per cent. 

"To state it bluntly and coldly, it is for the 
negro a recital of conditions as old as his free- 
dom: too much time spent out of his crop and 
away from his work; too much waiting for the 
weather to improve; too much putting off to a 
more convenient season; a too constant and too 
successful besieging of those in authority for 
money accommodations and supplies; too little 
reckoning against the future day of settlement; 
too much "leaning on the Lord," and too little 
upon himself, in things not spiritual; too much 
living for to-day and not enough for to-mor- 
row." ^ 

The thing which vitiates Mr. Stone's conclu- 
sions is perhaps lack of perspective. He is just 
a little too closely associated with the problem. 
He himself owns and operates a large planta- 
tion in Mississippi, and is a little apt to be preju- 
diced by the success or failure of his own iso- 
lated experiments. Mr. Stone's full and valuable 
statements concerning the supplanting of negro 
plantation hands by Italians and other foreigners 
does not seem to me to prove anything, save that 
the negro is inefficient and that, consequently, 
the whole South is suffering from his lack of 
economic efficiency. It does not at all answer 
the question of how we can get more efficient 
laborers to supplant him. The truth is, most 
men who have carefully studied the question have 
deliberately concluded that the negro farm hand 

1 Stone — "Studies in the American Race Problem," 
pp. 182, 183, 184. 



ECONOMIC CONDITION OF THE NEGRO 43 

will not be supplanted to any large extent by 
white immigrants, however desirable such an ex- 
change may or may not be. Farming in the 
South is now largely a question of holding the 
negro laborer in the country and making him 
efficient. 

Encouraging Features o£ Negro Farm Life 

There is, however, a brighter side to this ques- 
tion of the negro farmer. First of all, the ne- 
gro is slowly^ but surely becoming the tiller of 
his own land. Dr. Booker T. Washington said 
in his annual address at the National Negro 
Business League in nineteen hundred and ten: 
"Perhaps never before have the negroes added 
to their wealth so rapidly as they are adding at 
present. The negroes of Georgia during the 
present year added 47,045 acres to their land 
holdings, and increased the value of their land 
holdings $636,532. . . . The negroes of 
Virginia also during the year 1909 added 53,452 
acres to their land holdings and increased their 
land values by $175,740."^ While it cannot be 
said that there is any hope that the majority of 
negro farmers will own their land within the 
next two generations, it nevertheless does keep 
one from despairing of the future to learn that 
such substantial progress as these figures indi- 
cate is being made. 

fetter Methods of Farming 

There is a second note of encouragement about 
he negro farmer. He is learning to farm with 

1 Report of Eleventh Annual Convention Nat. Negro 
Bus. League, p. 82. 



( 



44 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

more intelligence than formerly. He is building, 
up his land, rotating his crops, diversifying his 
products, and, on the whole, making genuine 
progress. The farmers' institutes at Tuskegee 
and Hampton, together with the wide publicity 
given through the negro press to their proceed- 
ings, have had much to do with this marked im- 
provement. The agricultural demonstration 
trains in the South have been another factor in 
this development. The agricultural colleges and 
the agricultural training in ■ the public schools, 
though very inefficient as yet, have had their 
share in bringing about better farming methods. 
Lastly, the negro demonstration agents of the 
Agricultural Department of the United States 
Government have had no small share in these 
improved methods. "Eight of the graduates (of 
the Agricultural Department at Tuskegee) are 
working for the United States Department 
of Agriculture as Agricultural Demonstration 
Agents, in the states of Alabama, Louisiana, 
Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Vir- 
ginia. The purpose of the Demonstration Work 
is to get a farmer in a community to set aside a 
small portion of his land and to plant and culti- 
vate it under the direction of a Government ex- 
pert. Other farmers in the community are in- 
vited to come and see how the selected plot is 
prepared, planted and cultivated. They are in- 
duced to put into practice what they have learned. 
Thus by means of a single tract of land, the 
farming methods of an entire community are im- 
proved, and the yield of products greatly in- 
creased. AVhere farmers formerly raised 5 to 15 



ECONOMIC CONDITION OF THE NEGRO 45 

bushels of corn per acre, they are now, because 
of the teaching of these Demonstration Agents, 
raising from 30 to 60 bushels. Where from 150 
to 200 pounds of lint cotton were produced per 
acre, now from. 250 to 600 pounds are being pro- 
duced per acre. 

"The Demonstration Agents do not confine 
themselves to teaching improved farming meth- 
ods, but they also assist the people in getting 
better live stock, having better gardens and im- 
proving their homes.'; ^ 

Turning from the economic conditions of the 
farmers to that of the artisans, we at once face 
serious problems. When the Civil War closed, 
although the negro was the skilled laborer, he 
had many serious handicaps. First of all, he 
had never been in the habit of making independ- 
ent contracts, but had always worked under white 
contractors. As a slave, he had had his owner 
to stand responsible for him, acting as his bond, 
as it were. But now that freedom had come, 
and with it the bitter feeling arising out of Re- 
construction days, it was not always easy for the 
negro artisan to find a white man who would 
act as bondsman, though many of the old mas- 
ters did so with their own ex-slaves. Nor was 
it always easy for the artisan to secure work. 

Artisans' Need of Scientific Training 

Then the negro artisan, although a very ad- 
mirable workman for the cruder forms of me- 
chanical work on a plantation, had too little edu- 



1 "Industrial Work of Tuskegee Graduates," p. 6. 



46 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

cation to take hold readily of the rapidly 
developing complications in the mechanical 
world. He was sadly in need of technical train- 
ing to enable him to understand and handle 
quickly new tools and new machinery. Lastly, 
there was the handicap to which we have referred 
earlier — the conception that labor was degrad- 
ing. With all these drawbacks, it is not strange 
that the negro rapidly lost a part of his prestige 
as a skilled workman. 

Shut Out by Labor Unions 

At the present time, a serious handicap of the 
negro artisan is the labor union. In the North 
the negro is usually excluded from unions and 
effectually debarred from all skilled labor. In 
that section there is practically no avenue of ac- 
tivity open to him save that of the servant. "The 
Negro Artisan," a study made under the direc- 
tion of Atlanta University, says: "Nine-tenths 
of the black membership of the carpenters is in 
the South and mostly organized in separate 
unions from the whites. In the North, there 
are very few in the unions; there are a few in 
the West. In great cities like Washington, 
Baltimore, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, New York, 
and even Boston, it is almost impossible for a 
negro to be admitted to the unions, and there is 
no appeal from the decision." ^ 

This same publication, after a most exhaustive 
study, gives the following estimation of the atti- 
tude of the unions toward the negro in fifteen 
forms of skilled employment: 

i"The Negro Artisan," p. i6o. 



ECONOMIC CONDITION OF THE NEGRO 47 

"Miners — Welcome negroes in nearly all 
cases. 

Longshoremen — Welcome negroes in nearly 
all cases. 

Cigarmakers — Admit practically all applicants. 

Barbers — Admit many, but restrain negroes 
when possible. 

Seamen — Admit many, but prefer whites. 

Firemen — Admit many, but prefer whites. 

Tobacco workers — Admit many, but prefer 
whites. 

Carriage and wagon workers — Admit some, 
but do not seek negroes. 

Brickmakers — Admit some, but do not seek 
negroes. 

Coopers — ^Admit some, but do not seek ne- 
groes. 

Broommakers — ^Admit some, but do not seek 
negroes. 

Plasterers — Admit freely in South and a few 
in North. 

Carpenters — Admit many in South, almost 
none in North. 

Masons — Admit many in South, almost none 
in North. 

Painters — Admit a few in South, almost none 
in North." 1 



1 "The Negro Artisan," p. 163. 



48 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

Southern Situation — Unequal Wages 

Turning from the North to the South, we find 
a very different situation. Here the labor unions 
have much less hold; and even where these are 
strong, negroes are either admitted into the gen- 
eral union or have separate organizations. The 
main handicap in this section is not that the ne- 
gro is shut out from the skilled professions, but 
that he is paid from ten to fifteen per 'cent less 
than the white man, on the average, for sim- 
ilar services. Whether this lower wage is due 
to lack of efficiency or to race distinctions would 
be very hard to determine. The careful study 
of the Atlanta University made in 1902 seems to 
indicate that the negro artisan in the South is 
just about holding his own, or perhaps losing his 
hold in a small degree. This conclusion is con- 
firmed by Dr. Booker T. Washington in the fol- 
lowing terms : "It has seemed to many persons 
that the negro, in losing his monopoly in the 
trades, was losing also his position in them. 
After a careful study of the facts, I have come 
to the conclusion that this is not true. What the 
facts do seem to show is that there is in process 
a re-distribution of the colored population among 
the different trades and professions. There 
were fewer negroes engaged in farm labor in 
1900, for instance, but there is a larger propor- 
tion of the negro population engaged in the other 
four general classes of labor than there was in 
1890." 1 

Dr. Washington gives the following table, in- 



1 "The Story of the Negro," Vol. II, p. 66. 



ECONOMIC CONDITION OF THE NEGRO 49 

dicating the increase of negroes employed in the 
main classes of occupation : 

1890 1900 

"Agricultural pursuits ..1,984,310 2,143,176 
Professional service . . . 33,994 47,3^4 
Domestic and personal 

service 95^,754 1,324,160 

Trade and transporta- 
tion I45>7I7 209,154 

Manufacturing and me- 
chanical pursuits .... 208,374 275,149"^ 
All the reliable evidence that I have been able 
to obtain indicates that the negro in the South 
has lost, or is losing, his monopoly of certain 
trades, but is at the same time entering new- 
trades, thus very nearly if not quite, holding his 
own in the skilled occupations. 

Influence o£ Industrial Training 

Perhaps it ought to be said here that one of 
the influences that has helped the negro to hold 
his own in the trades is the new industrial train- 
ing. Hampton and Tuskegee, with their many 
smaller but worthy followers, have been sending 
out large numbers of skilled laborers, who have 
become leaders in their professions. During the 
twenty-nine years of its existence, Tuskegee 
alone has sent out nine thousand students, each 
of whom has had two years of careful industrial 
training. The average cost per year for the 
training of each of these students has been 
$81.50. Principal Washington estimates from 
carefuly collected data that the average prop- 

1 "The Story of the Negro," Vol. II, p. 67 



50 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

erty holdings of these nine thousand students is 
$1,700 each. If this be anything like a true es- 
timate, surely industrial training is a paying 
proposition for the South. 

Twenty-three industrial schools have been es- 
tablished by Tuskegee graduates and perhaps an 
equal number by graduates of Hampton. In 
this manner, the idea of the dignity of labor is 
being brought home to the masses, and thou- 
sands of boys and girls are being fitted for in- 
dustrial e£ficiency. Further discussion of indus- 
trial training must be left for a following 
chapter. 

The Negro in Business 

There has been witnessed during the last few 
years a very marvelous development of business 
interests among negroes in the South. One 
could hardly illustrate the diversity of business 
interests better than by giving a list of negro ac- 
tivities in one Southern city: "We can perhaps 
best realize these conditions by picturing a sin- 
gle community: Jacksonville, Florida, for in- 
stance, had 16,000 negroes in 1900. To-day it 
has nine colored lawyers, eighteen colored phy- 
sicians, ten drug stores, two sanitariums, one 
bank, one livery, sale and feed stable, two gar- 
ages, ten real estate dealers, three undertaking 
establishments, three denominational schools and 
a school for girls only, one old folks' home, one 
orphanage, one industrial school, one institu- 
tional church which operates a sewing ^lass, 
dressmaking, bookkeeping, kindergarten, cook- 
ing'* gymnasium, music — instrumental and vocal ; 



ECONOMIC CONDITION OF THE NEGRO 5 1 

has two paid missionaries, an assistant pastor. 
The church owns a full city block in the heart 
of the city, valued at $125,000. There are two 
dentists, a colored board of trade, the first and 
only one in the South; three cigar factories, 
three wholesale fish and poultry dealers; four 
hotels, containing twenty-five to one hundred 
rooms each; three weekly newspapers; one Odd 
Fellows Temple, valued at $100,000, and one 
K. of P. Temple, both paid for ; several Masonic 
Temples of less value; one large jewelry store; 
one curio store ; ten public school buildings ; 
twenty-six letter carriers and postal clerks ; three 
deputy collectors of customs; numbers of rail- 
way mail clerks; one shoe store; two industrial 
insurance companies that own their buildings, 
one valued at $35,000." ^ 

Varieties of Occupation 

In going through the 1910 report of the Na- 
tional Negro Business League, I find the follow- 
ing business interests, trades and professions 
represented in the roster of delegates: Drug- 
gist, General Merchant, Undertaker, Banker, 
Coal Dealer, Haberdasher, Insurance and Real 
Estate Agent, Truck Farmer, Barber, Dealer in 
Dry Goods, Harness Maker, Mail Carrier, 
Teacher, Planter, Lawyer, Hotel and Restaurant 
Keeper, Chiropodist, Contractor, Poultry Raiser, 
Tinsmith, Shoe Dealer, Delicatessen Dealer, 
Publisher of Books and Newspapers, Express- 
man, Hair Dresser, Drug Manufacturer, Tan- 

1 " Social Betterment," Atlanta University publi- 
cation, No. 14, p. 12. 



52 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

ner, Miner, Veterinary Surgeon, Photographer, 
Brick Mason, Butcher, Stenographer, Tailor, 
Laundryman, Broker, Liveryman and Feed Mer- 
chant, Garage Keeper, Blacksmith, etc. 

In the one line of banking, it is surprising to 
find that there are fifty-six banks now owned 
and operated by negroes. Ten of these are in 
the State of Mississippi alone. Another form 
of business which is growing very rapidly is in- 
dustrial insurance. In the State of North Caro- 
lina, one industrial insurance company paid out, 
in 1909, $114,000 to its policy holders. 

Negro Business Man's Opportunity in the South 

The business opportunity of the negro in the 
South is practically unlimited. In the first place, 
there is a growing race pride among the negroes, 
and they are beginning to patronize increasingly 
their own dealers. There never has been any 
objection on the part of white people to patron- 
izing negro business concerns, provided they fur- 
nished equal value for the money expended..] 
Scott Bond, an ex-slave and negro merchant in 
Madison, Arkansas, said in his address to the 
American Negro Business League: "Both 
black and white patronize us and I want to say, 
to the credit of the Southern white man, the 
chance for a negro to succeed in the South, in a 
business way, is as good as it can possibly be 
anywhere." ^ 

One Remarkably Successful Business 

Perhaps I can best convey my own feeling of 

1 Report for 1910 of the "American Negro Busi- 
ness League," p. 92. 



ECONOMIC CONDITION OF THE NEGRO 53 

encouragement over the negro's economic effi- 
ciency in business by giving a brief account of a 
visit I made on Monday, January 2nd, 1911, to 
the plant of the National Baptist Publishing 
Board, 523 Second Avenue, North, Nashville, 
Tennessee. I reached the plant about half-past 
one in the afternoon and found everything quiet 
and all the operatives out save one old attendant, 
who said the annual dinner to the employees was 
being served by Dr. R. H. Boyd, the proprietor 
(a negro), in the adjoining chapel. On sending 
in my name, I was invited into the hall, where a 
liberal feast had evidently been provided, as was 
evidenced by the appearance of turkey bones left 
on the table. Of course, the advent of two 
white men called for speeches ; so my friend and 
I made remarks and then had the [chance of hear- 
ing ourselves outstripped by the flowery elo- 
quence of some of the colored "brethren." 
Among others, Dr. Boyd himself gave a brief 
talk, outlining the growth of the business. He 
started his publishing business, he said, in 1896, 
with two "split bottom" chairs in a small room, 
with a "green negro girl" as his employed force. 
Brandon, Bush, and other white printers in the 
city did his printing by contract. This little one- 
roomed office had grown in fifteen years to a 
series of two-story brick buildings — all owned 
by Dr. Boyd — containing the most modern re- 
volving presses and all the necessary printing 
appliances. The one "green negro girl" was 
now aided by one hundred and fifty negro em- 
ployees, including everybody from the "printer's 
devil" up to the bookkeepers, stenographers, and 



54 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

an editor of religious articles, who was also 
chaplain of the factory. 

A new department has now been added, where 
church furniture and stained glass are manufac- 
tured for negro churches, and also a doll de- 
partment, where thousands of real negro dolls 
are sold all over the country to negro merchants. 
I went through all the buildings under Dr. 
Boyd's guidance and was impressed with the 
economy, the careful arrangement and marked 
efficiency of the whole plant. One detail I can- 
not forbear mentioning. Dr. Boyd told us that 
the chapel where the New Year's dinner was 
served each year — just as I had seen it that day 
— was built especially for religious services for 
the employed force. Every morning at nine 
o'clock every wheel in the factory is stopped and 
each employee goes to the chapel, where the 
chaplain conducts a half-hour service of Bible 
reading and study. No man or woman who will 
not attend chapel regularly can hold his position 
in the establishment. One of the white printers 
of Nashville once remonstrated with Dr. Boyd 
for wasting half an hour each day from the time 
of so many laborers. The answer was charac- 
teristic: "Didn't you use to do my printing for 
me ? " asked Dr. Boyd. "Yes, and you always 
paid your bills." "Haven't I made some real 
progress in these fifteen years?" "You have 
grown forty times as fast as I have," was the 
white printer's reply. "Well," said Dr. Boyd, "I 
haven't noticed that you waste any time on Bible 
reading and prayer." I find myself still won- 
dering what the white printer could say in return. 



ECONOMIC CONDITION OF THE NEGRO 55 

No Final Solution Yet Reached 

Of course, one must not conclude from the en- 
couraging facts that have been given above that 
the question of economic efficiency has been 
solved for the negro race. One cannot walk the 
streets of any Southern city and not be impressed 
v^ith the sight of hundreds of listless, idle and 
dirty-looking negroes, who not only do not know 
how to work well, but do not want to learn. I 
know of nothing that gives one a feeling, of 
more complete helplessness than the seeming 
dead indifference of thousands of negroes to all 
the laws of cleanliness, ambition and efficiency. 
This indifference rests like a great black night 
on the whole South. As I have said before, the 
future economic progress of the South is closely 
knit up with the economic efficiency of the ne- 
gro, for the negro is now and will, in my judg- 
ment, continue to be for the next fifty years, al- 
most our sole dependence for labor. All at- 
tempts to import foreign labor into the South! 
have up to the present been almost futile. 
Even where they have been brought in, the for- 
eigners are unwilling to stay and work in com- 
petition with the negro. Our one hope, it seems 
to me, lies in a more efficient negro laborer. If 
his indifference and laziness and ignorance can- 
not be overcome, then we as a section must ex- 
pect to drop further and further behind in the 
economic procession of the nation, as the years 
roll by. 

Summary of Principles 
Any fair and dispassionate reviewing of the 



56 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

facts of the present situation, it seems, would 
justify the following conclusions: 

First: We must continue to hold our stand- 
ards of skill and labor as high as the white la- 
borer can hold them. We dare not think of low- 
ering our standards of efficiency simply because 
we have among, us a large class of less efficient 
laborers. 

Second: We must continue to admit Into all 
forms of employment all who are able to meas- 
ure up to the standards. This has been our pol- 
icy in the past and we shall, at our peril, allow 
any change in this program. If the negro ar- 
tisan can do the same grade of work as the white 
man, then public sentiment must continue to de- 
mand as it has in the past that he be given a full 
and free opportunity. 

Third: We must give equal wages for equal 
service. If a negro man can build my house as 
well as a v/hite man, I must be willing to give 
him just as good pay. The fact that he has a 
lower standard of living and can perhaps work 
for a little less is no excuse for forcing him to 
^continue on this lower plane. 

Fourth : We must use every effort to raise the 
standard of living of the negro artisan to such 
a place that he cannot afford to work for less 
money than the white man. This will be to the 
advantage of the white artisan, for it will obviate 
unequal and cheap competit on; it will be to the 
advantage of the community at large, for it will 
give us a larger supply of self-respecting, am- 
bitious and efficient laborers. 

Fifth: Equal facilities must be furnished the 



ECONOMIC CONDITION OF THE NEGRO 57 

members of each race to equip themselves for 
the largest possible efficiency. Surely no one can 
begrudge any man, whether white or black, a 
chance to get that training which will make him 
a better workman, a greater producer of wealth, 
a more reliable and law-abiding citizen, a greater 
force for righteousness, a more self-respecting 
man. 

Active Advocacy of Principles 

For these fundamental principles every South- 
ern white man should stand not only passively 
but actively. We should stand for them because 
self-preservation can be insured only by such ac- 
tion. We should stand for them because they 
are dictated by the laws of a sound economy. 
We should stand for them because to do other- 
wise would be inhuman and far less than Chris- 
tian. 



Ill 



HEALTH AND HOUSING OF THE 
NEGRO 



WE WEAR THE MASiC 

We wear the mask that grins and lies, 
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes, — 
This debt we pay to human guile; 
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile, 
And mouth with myriad subtleties. 

Why should the world be over-wise. 
In counting all our tears and sighs? 
Nay, let them only see us, while 
We wear the mask. 

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries 
To thee from tortured souls arise. 
We sing, but oh, the clay is vile 
Beneath our feet, and long the mile; 
But let the world dream otherwise, 
We wear the mask ! 

— Paul Laurence Dunbar. 



Ill 



HEALTH AND HOUSING OF THE 
NEGRO 

Test of Civilization 

,The surest test of a civilization lies not in 
the accumulated wealth of the people, not in 
the degree of perfection in political organiza- 
tion, not in its educational advancement, and 
one is tempted to say not even in its organized 
church life. All of these are, to be sure, indices 
of development, but the surest test of any civil- 
ization lies in the character of its homes. Any 
race that has the ability to build up and keep 
sacred the institution of the family must be 
counted as a progressive race. The past history 
of the negro has not been very encouraging in 
this regard. Neither in Africa nor in America 
during the days of slavery did he know the true 
meaning of the word home. It is much to the 
credit of the negro race that out of such a past 
he is slowly but surely evolving the institutions 
of the family and the home. 

Relation of House to the Home 

In this process of evolution, the house in which 

he lives plays no small part. It has been often 

and well said that a palace without love and 

ideals is not a home, and the glory of the one 

6i 



62 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

room cottage where love reigns has been sung 
by poets and bards. The plain truth, however, 
is that one room gives poor opportunity to keep 
pure and sweet the love that once entered there, 
and the house has more to do with the home than 
some poets have dreamed; and surely the house 
has a most vital relation to the health and, there- 
fore, to the morals and ideals of its inmates. If 
a nation's progress can be measured by its 
homes, almost as surely can the state of the 
homes be measured by the state of the houses in 
which these homes are made. With the idea of 
this vital relationship in mind, let us study the 
question of negro housing. 

Housing in Slavery Days 

During the days of slavery, the negroes lived 
in the long rows of log cabins — mostly one 
roomed — which stretched away from the "big 
house" like two white wings. These were known 
as the slave quarters, and, being whitewashed, 
they not infrequently gave a very picturesque ap- 
pearance to the old plantation. One who visits 
these old Southern plantations to-day may find 
the remnants of the slave quarters still in ex- 
istence, though they are fast tumbling into decay. 
In these early days of the South most of the 
poorer people of the section lived in these one 
or two roomed log cabins; however, the Hfe 
therein was cheerless and without comforts. 
Booker T. Washington has given a graphic de- 
scription of this life in his "Up from Slavery": 
"There was a door to the cabin — that is, some- 
thing that was called a door — but the uncertain 



HEALTH AND HOUSING OF THE NEGRO 63 

hinges by which it was hung, and the large 
cracks in it, to say nothing of the fact that it 
was too small, made the room a very uncomfort- 
able one. In addition to these openings there 
was, in the lower right-hand corner of the room, 
the 'cat-hole,' — a contrivance which almost every 
mansion or cabin in Virginia possessed during 
the ante-bellum period. The 'cat-hole' was a 
square opening, about seven by eight inches, pro- 
vided for the purpose of letting the cat pass 
in and out of the house at will during the night. 
In the case of our particular cabin I could never 
understand the necessity for this convenience, 
since there were at least a half-dozen other places 
in the cabin that would have accommodated the 
cats. There was no wooden floor in our cabin, 
the naked earth being used as a floor. In the 
center of the earthen floor there was a large, 
deep opening covered with boards, which was 
used as a place in which to store sweet potatoes 
during the winter. . . . " 

This picture drawn by Washington is much 
more dreary than the average cabin would 
justify; for usually there was a board floor and 
somewhat better doors. Life in slave quarters, 
however, was poor at the best. 

Country Housing 

The housing conditions of the negro farmer 
have not changed since slavery nearly so much 
as one would wish, nor as one might reasonably 
expect. I have traveled through the country in 
almost every section of the South, and the negro 
farm houses consist usually of one, two, or three 



64 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

rooms, poorly furnished, poorly kept, with no 
pictures, and with the barest necessities for liv- 
ing. Professor DuBois has made some study of 
a typical slave county — Dougherty County, 
Georgia. His word about conditions of housing 
is rather pessimistic but is doubtless not much 
overdrawn: "The form and disposition of the 
laborers' cabins throughout the Black Belt 
is to-day the same as in slavery days. Some 
live in the self-same cabins, others in cabins re- 
built on the sites of the old. All are sprinkled 
in little groups over the face of the land, center- 
ing about some dilapidated Big House where the 
head-tenant or agent lives. The general char- 
acter and arrangement of these dwellings re- 
mains on the whole unaltered. There were in 
the country, outside the corporate town of Al- 
bany, about fifteen hundred negro families in 
1898. Out of all these, only a single family oc- 
cupied a house with seven rooms; only fourteen 
have five rooms or more. The mass live in one- 
and two-room houses." 

"The size and arrangements of the people's 
homes are no unfair index of their condition. 
If, then, v/e inquire more carefully into these 
negro homes, we find much that is unsatisfac- 
tory. All over the face of the land is the one- 
room cabin — now standing in the shadow of the 
Big House, now staring at the dusty road, now 
rising dark and sombre amid the green of the 
cotton-fields. It is nearly always old and bare, 
built of rough boards, and neither plastered nor 
ceiled. Light and ventilation are supplied by 
the single door and by the square hole in the 
wall with its wooden shutter. There is no glass, 



HEALTH AND HOUSING OF THE NEGRO 65 

porch, or ornamentation without. Within is a 
fireplace, black and smoky, and usually unsteady 
with age. A bed or two, a table, a wooden chest, 
and a few chairs compose the furniture ; while a 
stray show-bill or a newspaper makes up the 
decorations for the walls. Now and then one 
may find such a cabin kept scrupulously neat, 
with merry steaming fireplace and hospitable 
door, but the majority are dirty and dilapidated, 
smelling of eating and sleeping, poorly venti- 
lated, and anything but homes." 

''Above all, the cabins are crowded. We have 
come to associate crowding with homes in cities 
almost exclusively. This is primarily because 
we have so little accurate knowledge of coun- 
try life. Here in Dougherty county one may 
find families of eight and ten occupying one or 
two rooms, and for every ten rooms of house ac- 
commcMation for the negroes there are twenty- 
five persons. The worse tenement abominations 
of New York do not have above twenty-two 
persons for every ten rooms. Of course, one 
small, close room in a city, without a yard, is 
in many respects worse than the larger single 
country room. In other respects it is better; 
it has glass windows, a decent chimney, and a 
trustworthy floor. The single great advantage 
of the negro peasant is that he may spend most 
of his life outside his hovel in the open fields.'" 

City Housing 

The conditions of houses in themselves are but 
little more inviting in the cities. In an investi- 
gation of 1,137 negro families made under di- 

^ ''Souls of Black Folks," pp. 138-140. 



66 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

rection of Atlanta University in 1897 it was 
found that 117 families lived in single-room 
houses, 276 lived in two-roomed houses, 308 
families occupied three rooms each, 197 had four 
rooms each, 112 had five rooms, 122 had more 
than five rooms, — and the average number of 
occupants for all rooms was 2.22 persons. In a 
study of the Philadelphia negro in 1899 it was 
found that in the seventh ward alone 829 fam- 
ilies, or 35 per cent, of the negro families of the 
ward, occupied just one room to the family. 
It is not an uncommon thing for one in passing 
through the poorer negro section to see a sign, 
"sleepers wanted," tacked on the front of a two- 
or three-roomed house occupied by a family of 
from two to six persons. One house visited had 
a shed-room, used for a dining-room and kitchen, 
and two front rooms. In these two front rooms 
the negro man, his wife, and three grown 
daughters lived, and they took three ^'men sleep- 
ers" into the house. Another house visited had 
two rooms — one used for kitchen, dining-room 
and laundry-room. The wife made the living 
by taking in washing. In the other room — one 
without a ray of sunlight — lived this woman, 
her invalid husband, and two children. In these 
houses one almost never finds a bath-room and 
almost as seldom finds a toilet. In the investi- 
gation by Atlanta University, of the 1,031 houses 
visited only 43, or 4 per cent., had bath tubs. 
It is safe to say that among this class of ne- 
groes — the ignorant day-laboring class — this 
percentage of bath tubs is fully up to the average. 



HEALTH AND HOUSING OF THE NEGRO 6"] 

Unfavorable Location 

These negro homes have the additional dis- 
advantage of being located in the lower, damper, 
and more disagreeable parts of the city. In At- 
lanta, as an illustration, there are large negro 
settlements in the lower parts of Houston Street, 
and in the more undesirable parts of West At- \ 
lanta. In Nashville, the lowlands between the 
central part of the city and the residence section 
of South Nashville, known as "Black Bottom," 
is tenanted by negroes. So one could go through 
the list of almost every Southern city, and the 
facts are always the same. 

Still further, these houses are undesirable, 
because they are largely located on the alleys 
rather than the streets. Mr. H. Paul Douglass 
says : "I know a Charleston alley lined with thirty- 
two negro tenement houses. In the midst of the 
alley, its sole source of water supply is an open 
dipping well, surrounded by a sixteen-inch curb. 
On this curb all the people of the thirty-two 
houses do their washing, etc."^ This means that 
these homes have absolutely no yard space, that 
they have a most dreary outlook, that they are 
surrounded by all sorts of unsightly trash, and 
that the air is not infrequently ladened with foul 
odors. It would be hard for any people to make 
homes in such houses. It would be hard to es- 
timate just what would be the deteriorating effect 
of removing from the homes of our white people 
every flower, every tree, every blade of grass, 
and yet that is what has happened for the mass of 
the negr o working-men. Professor DuBois, in his 

^ "Christian Reconstruction in the South," p. 177. 



68 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

Study of the Philadelphia negro, gives the fol- 
lowing figures: Of the 1,751 famiUes making 
returns, 932 had a private yard 12x12 feet, or 
larger; 312 had a private yard smaller than 
12x12 feet; 507 had either no yard or a yard and 
outhouse in common with the other denizens of 
the tenement or alley.^ 

Yet again the homes of a large number of 
negroes are located down in the heart of the 
city in the old houses long since abandoned by 
white people, or in those sections of the town 
where railroads, factories, etc., have made living 
undesirable. 

Lastly, these houses are often old and are kept 
in poor repair. If it were not for the high rental 
which they command they would be torn down to 
give place for better structures. 

Exorbitant Rentals 

Now the negro not only puts up with these 
miserable houses and bad locations, but he fre- 
quently pays an exorbitant rent. I have asked 
a good number of landlords why they do not 
tear away the old negro houses and build decent 
tenements, and the usual reply is that the pres- 
ent investment brings a larger dividend. Fifteen 
to twenty per cent, dividends is not thought to 
be exorbitant from such rentals. In many 
of the very worst sections of Negrotown in 
Nashville, rooms rent for two dollars per week. 
If a woman who is a cook, working for twelve 
dollars per month, has only one room, she will 
pay a half to two-thirds of her income for the 

•-"The Philadelphia Negro," p. 293. 



HEALTH AND HOUSING OF THE NEGRO 69 

rent of a miserable hovfel. In a recent investiga- 
tion made in the city of Nashville, out of 12,579 
females over fifteen years of age, 5,595 were em- 
ployed as laundresses, cooks, house girls, and 
child nurses, — the average salary for which serv- 
ices ranged from eight to fifteen dollars per 
month. Unless these women had other support 
than that of their own labor, they would have a 
bare pittance on which to live after paying room 
rent. There is no wonder they resort to stealing 
and even worse crimes. 

Why Negroes Accept These Conditions 

There are two reasons why negroes will con- 
tinue to live in these unsanitary houses in the 
worst sections of the city. In the first place, 
the great majority of negroes are engaged in 
personal services, such as that of cooks, waiters, 
and waitresses, butlers, drivers, nurses, etc. This 
necessitates their being as near their work as 
possible. In the second place, the strong social 
nature of the negro calls for constant compan- 
ionship. He wants to be where he can see many 
others of his kind. He does not want to be 
isolated; Where there are many congregated, 
there can be some constant amusement. The 
organ grinder, the medicine man, the street 
preacher — all of these flourish in the thickly 
populated sections of the negro district, and to 
miss these things would be not to live. It is for 
this reason that people living far out in the sub- 
urbs of a city find it difficult to keep negro 
servants, in spite of the fact that good servants' 
quarters are furnished. Thousands of negroes 



yO NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

thus live in crowded and unsanitary tenement 
houses on the back alleys of the city rather than 
live out in the suburbs where they might have 
fresh air and sunshine, cheaper rent and a yard 
with a garden. 

The barest recital of facts such as these con- 
vinces one that the negro does not have a chance. 
He has had so little and has grown accustomed to 
so little that there is danger lest he will not ever 
want any better than he has. To increase his 
wants, to make him see the blessings of better 
houses, and more air and sunshine — this is a 
staggering task. 

The Better Class of Houses 

And, yet, we must not pass without giving 
something of the brighter side of the picture. 
We are reminded of the 126,329 negro homes 
free of debt and owned by negroes. We must 
remember that more and more the negro is oc- 
cupying whole sections of our cities and is mak- 
ing such sections beautiful and attractive. Re- 
cently, I went through that section of Atlanta 
near Atlanta University where are to be found 
the homes of the better class of negroes. The 
streets were clean, the yards were green and 
well kept, there were plenty of shade trees, and 
most of the houses had from four to eight 
rooms. They were well painted and one would 
hardly have known that it was not a white set- 
tlement. Just out by the University, I saw the 
handsome new residence of the leading negro 
barber of the city, — a brick edifice costing more 
than twenty-five thousand dollars. Nor is this 
an isolated case. There are such negro settle- 



HEALTH AND HOUSING OF THE NEGRO Jl 

ments in Chattanooga, Nashville, and many other 
cities that I have visited. 

Relation of Health to Housing 

In view of what has preceded, one may expect 
the health of the negro to be below that of the 
white man. And such is evidently the case. Con- 
trary to the idea of the casual observer, the ne- 
gro has less of endurance, and his death rate 
is higher than that of the white man. "The vital- 
ity of the negro," says Hoffman,^ "may well 
be considered the most important phase of the 
so-called race problem; for, it is a fact which 
can, and will, be demonstrated by indisputable 
evidence, that of all races for which statistics 
are obtainable, and which enter at all into the 
consideration of economic problems as factors, 
the negro shows the least power of resistance in 
the struggle for life." Mr. Hoffman thinks that 
ihis physical weakness of the race presages ex- 
termination unless such weakness can be over- 
come, while others take an opposite view and 
claim that the birth rate will easily keep in ad- 
vance of the death rate. 

High Death Rate of Negroes 

In Washington, for the year 1890, the vital 
statistics for white and colored showed a rela- 
tive number of deaths of 67.07 whites to 141.69 
colored; and for the same year the figures for 
Baltimore stood 67.19 whites to 121.55 colored; 
or, in other words, the negroes in these two 

^ "Race Traits and Tendencies of the American Ne- 
gro," p. 2)7- I am greatly indebted to this student of 
the negro for many of the facts in this chapter. 



72 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

cities that y^r were twice as unhealthy as the 
white people. In the cities of Atlanta, Memphis, 
Charleston, and Richmond, the death rates for 
the years 1881-1895 were as follows : Atlanta, 18.5 
whites to 34.7 colored; Memphis, 20.6 whites to 
31.2 colored; Charleston, 23.2 white to 44 col- 
cied; Richmond, 20.7 white to 38 colored. 
Among these cities the comparative death rate 
most favorable to the negro was in Memphis, 
where, for every two white deaths per thousand 
of population, there were three colored deaths ; 
and the least favorable comparative death rate 
was in Atlanta, where, for every five white deaths 
per thousand population, there were nine colored 
deaths. Without wearying the reader with the 
statistics, it may be stated that both the white 
death rate and colored death rate in all these cities 
decreased greatly between 1881 and 1895, but 
the decrease of the white death rate was greater 
than that of the colored, hence at the end of the 
period the latter still stands about 70 per cent, 
in advance of the former. It may be said also 
that the statistics of the last census and such 
other local statistics as are available up to the 
present year, seem to indicate that this disparity 
is probably larger now than it was in 1895. In- 
deed, a number of students of the question have 
put the death rate per thousand of each race as 
two to one in favor of the white man. 

Causes of Excessive Death Rate 

The chief causes of this excessive death rate 
among negroes seem to be infant mortality, con- 
sumption, scrofula, venereal troubles, and in- 
testinal diseases. It will be noted that all of 



HEALTH AND HOUSING OF THE NEGRO 73 

these are what may be called constittitional dis- 
eases, that is, either the disease or else the weak- 
ness which makes the subject an easy prey, may 
be inherited. Hoffman sums up a number of sta- 
tistical tables as giving "evidence that environ- 
ment has less effect on the duration of life than 
have the factors of race and heredity.'" 

Infant Mortality 

The infant mortality among the peoples in 
America is alarmingly high. Too little atten- 
tion has been paid in the past to the feeding 
and care of infants. Among the colored people 
this mortality is still further marked. As illus- 
trations of this fact, the following statistics for 
the year 1890 may be cited: New Orleans, 1,290 
colored births, 555 of which children died before 
one year of age, or a death rate of 430.2 per thou- 
sand; Charleston, 758 births, 350 of whom died 
under one year of age, or a rate of 461.7; Rich- 
mond, 625 births, 331 deaths, death rate of in- 
fants, 529.6 per thousand. In other words, of 
every two colored children born only one lives to 
be one year old. This is a death plague almost 
like that visited upon the children of Egypt by 
the destroying angel. 

Neglect of Children 

For this alarming infant mortality there are 
three chief causes : First, the mother works out 
and must leave the infant in the care of other 
children who are too young to give it proper at- 
tention. According to statistics quoted before, 
44 per cent, of the negro women in Nashville 

^"Race Traits and Tendencies," p. 51. 



74 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

over fifteen years of age are employed as laun- 
dresses, cooks, housemaids, and child nurses, 
which means that in most cases they must leave 
their own children without proper care during 
the day. It may also be added that the medical 
care given to negro children is altogether in- 
adequate. Thousands of them die without ever 
being seen by a physician. Here is a crying need 
for more trained negro physicians who can, and 
will, meet this need of humanity. These facts 
will undoubtedly account for much of this ex- 
cessive infant mortality. As to the other great 
causes of high death rate among infants, let a 
negro speak, lest we shall be charged with unfair 
judgment.'' 

Immorality and Child Diseases 

"There is one obstacle in the race's reproduc- 
ing itself that has some connection with venereal 
diseases and hence I speak of it now. I refer to the 
enormous amount of still births and infant mor- 
tality prevalent everywhere among colored peo- 
ple. For the period of 1893-95, the still and prema- 
ture births in the city of Nashville were 2^2 for 
the white, and 385 for the colored ; or, in propor- 
tion to the population, two and one-third times as 
many as there ought to have been. This relative 
state of affairs obtains in Memphis and Atlanta, 
and in all the large cities of the South. From the 
health reports of all our large Southern cities we 
learn that a considerable amount of our infant 
mortality is due to inanition, infantile debility, 
and infantile marasmus. Now, what is the case 

^ "Social and Physical Conditions of Negroes in 
Cities," p, 24. 



HEALTH AND HOUSING OF THE NEGRO 75 

in regard to these diseases? The fact is that 
they are not diseases at all, but merely the names 
of symptoms due to enfeebled constitutions and 
congenital diseases inherited from parents suf- 
fering from the effects of sexual immorality and 
debauchery. Translated into common speech, 
they are nothing more than infant starvation, in- 
fant weakness, and infant wasting away, the 
cause of which is that the infants' parents be- 
fore them have not given them a fighting chance 
for life. According to Hoffman, over 50 per 
cent, of the negro children born in Richmond, 
Va., die before they are one year old. 

"The number of still and premature births 
among us is a matter of great alarm, not only be- 
cause it seriously interferes with the numerical 
increase of the race, but because it involves the 
fecundity, the health, and even the moral char- 
acter of large numbers of our women. The sup- 
port of the family often falls very heavily upon 
our poor washerwomen; and since they find it 
hard to get the husks to feed and the rags to 
clothe their already large number of little folks, 
living in one room like stock, rather than add 
to their burden, they resort to crime. An official 
on the Nashville Board of Health, who is also 
proprietor of a drug store, tells me that he is 
astonished at the number of colored women who 
apply at his store for drugs with a criminal pur- 
pose in view." 

Prevalence of Consumption 

A second cause of excessive death rate among 
negroes is consumption. According to the census 
of 1890, the mortality from consumption per 



76 



NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 



White. 


Colored 


3554 


686.3 


250.3 


5877 


37I-I 


54-4 


304.1 


608.2 


213.8 


4837 


230.5 


411. 1 


245 


591.8 



100,000 of each race in certain typical cities was 
as follows : ' 



Charleston, S. C. 
New Orleans, La. 
Savannah, Ga 
Mobile, Ala. 
Atlanta, Ga. 
Richmond, Va. 
Washington, D. C 



It will be seen from this table that the lowest ex- 
cess for the colored deaths over white from con- 
sumption is 74 per cent, in Richmond, and the 
highest excess is 136 per cent, in the City of New 
Orleans. Not only is this death rate very much 
higher, but it seems to be increasing. The 
figures from the City of Charleston, from 1822 
or 1894, will indicate this:^ 

CONSUMPTION IN. CHARLESTON, S. C, 1822-1894 

(Death rates per 100,000 of population). 



Period. White. 

1822-30 457 

1831-40 331 

1841-48 268 

1865-74 198 

1875-84 255 

1885-94 189 



Colored. 

447 
320 
266 
411 
668 
627 



* Figures taken from "Race Traits and Tesdencies 
of American Negro," p. 83. 

2 Figures copied from "Race Traits and Tendencies 
of American Negro," p, 70. 



HEALTH AND HOUSING OF THE NEGRO y"] 

Thus, while the consumptive death rate, 1822-30, 
was about equal for whites and blacks, that of the 
blacks was nearly three and one-third times as 
great as that of the whites for the period 1885- 
1894, It seems quite evident that consumption 
is very much more prevalent since slavery than 
during slave days. 

Predisposition to Consumption 

Hoffman thinks the negro has a predisposition 
to consumption, the conclusions concerning which 
he sums up the following words :^ "The aver- 
age girth of chest of the negro male of thirty 
years ago was slightly greater than that of the 
white, but at the present time the chest expansion 
of the colored male is less than that of the white. 
This decrease in the size of the living thorax in 
part explains the increase in the mortality from 
consumption and respiratory diseases." 

"The capacity of the lungs of the negro is con- 
siderably below that of the white. This fact, 
coupled with the smaller weight of the lungs 
(4 oz.), is without question another powerful 
factor in the great mortality from diseases of the 
lungs." There can be little doubt that one cause 
of depleted lung power and hence of increased 
consumption, may be the foul atmosphere in the 
midst of which so many negroes live. 

These facts will only explain the prevalence of 
the disease and not its increase. The reason for 
the increase of the disease among negroes may 
possibly be found in the increase of that other 
group of diseases, scrofula, syphilis and gon- 

> 1 "Race Traits and Tendencies," p. 170. 



78 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

orrhea. These diseases are known to be veritable 
scourges among the colored population. I have 
taken pains to question a great many Christian 
physicians, both white and colored, about the 
prevalence of gonorrhea among negroes, and 
most of them put the percentage among the men 
at ninety-five out of every hundred. Some of the 
colored physicians have put it higher than that. 
There can, of course, be no reliable statistics 
secured on this point, and these are simply opin- 
ions which cannot be verified. It is always 
dangerous to accept opinions as verified facts: 
but, allowing for all error, the figures must be 
alarmingly high. Let us turn to the Atlanta 
University investigation, which was made by 
negroes, to find their opinion about the increase 
and deadliness of these diseases among their own 
race: * "For the period 1882-85, the colored death 
rate in Memphis from scrofula and syphilis was 
205.8 per cent, in excess of that among the 
whites; but from 1891 down to the present time, 
the excess has been 298 per cent. For the 
period 1893-95, there were in the City of Nash- 
ville 8 white deaths from scrofula and syphilis, 
and 35 colored. In proportion to the population 
there ought to have been only 5 colored. Of 
course, allowance must be made for the fact that, 
on account of the scandal and disgrace, white 
physicians are reluctant to report white deaths 
from these causes ; whereas such motives rarely, 
if ever, influence them in reporting colored 
deaths." 



^ "Social and Physical Condition of Negroes in 
Cities," p. 23. ^ 



HEALTH AND HOUSING OF THE NEGRO 79 

Scrofixla and Syphilis 

''According to the May Bulletin of the Depart- 
ment of Labor, out of 1,090 colored people can- 
vassed this year in the City of Nashville, 18 were 
suffering from scrofula and syphilis. One whose 
attention has not been called to the matter has 
no conception of the prevalence of these diseases 
among the negroes of Nashville. I have looked 
for it in both races as I have walked the streets of 
my city, and to come across the loathsome disease 
in the colored passers-by is not an uncommon oc- 
currence. This state of affairs can be accounted 
for when I tell you that there is probably no city 
in this country where prostitution among colored 
people is more rampant and brazen, and where 
abandoned colored women are more numerous or 
more public in their shameful traffic." 

Inferences 

It would seem to be a fair conclusion from 
these facts that sexual immorality among negroes 
is so debilitating the mothers and fathers, that a 
large percentage of the children are born dead, or 
else they enter the world so starved and diseased 
that half of them die before they reach the age of 
one year. 

Further, it may be concluded that this sexual 
immorality is so sapping the vital power of the 
negro race that they fall an easy prey to diseases 
such as consumption, and when once such a dis- 
ease has got hold of their lives they have not the 
vital power to withstand or check its ravages. 
And, lastly, one may conclude that -the diseases 
■which arise out of sexual immorality are taking 



80 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

off large numbers of the race to premature 
graves. Here is a sight loathsome enough to 
sicken even the stoutest heart. A race of people 
in our very midst, many of them working in our 
own homes, and yet dying of a more awful 
leprosy than one dare describe — a leprosy all the 
more deadly because it kills not only the body but 
damns the soul. 

Housing and Health 

What relationship has the housing question to 
these questions of health and morals? A very 
vital one, and yet, perhaps, not just the relation 
which has been so commonly in mind. It is not 
fevers alone that arise out of housing conditions, 
though such conditions may be directly re- 
sponsible for a large portion of such diseases. 
Poor housing, back alleys, no ventilation, poor 
sanitation, no sunshine do much to foster disease 
of all kinds. In particular they prepare fertile 
soil for the growth of the tubercular germs. 
They weaken the body of the inhabitant so that 
he is not best able to withstand disease. They 
may so discourage the people who dwell in such 
surroundings that they do not struggle against 
the ravages of sickness. 

Housing and Morals 

But these are not the worst results of the over- 
crowding and poor housing. By far the worst 
results on health arise out of the low state of 
morals they superinduce. So long as people are 
huddled together in filthy houses and unsanitary 
surroundings, so long will they be lacking in that 
pride and self-respect which makes for morality. 



HEALTH AND HOUSING OF THE NEGRO 8l 

A man living on a clean street — all other things 
being equal — is a more decent and moral man 
than he would be were he living on a back alley. 
A man who has had a bath is surely more apt 
to have clean thoughts than the man who never 
bathes. The man who wears decent clothes in 
keeping with his decent surroundings has a 
better chance to be moral than the man who is 
filthy in the midst of filthy surroundings. No 
man who has ever shaved and bathed and donned 
clean linen can for one moment fail to understand 
that cleanliness not only is next to godliness, but 
cleanliness helps to create godliness. We can- 
not make people moral so long as they live in 
filth and in squalid surroundings. 

Further, people cannot be moral so long as they 
are herded together like cattle without privacy or 
decency. If the men and the women, the boys 
and the girls from half a dozen tenements are 
forced to use one toilet, we cannot expect either 
privacy or decency. If a mother, a father, three 
grown daughters, and men boarders have to sleep 
in two small rooms, we must expect lack of mod- 
esty, promiscuity, illegitimacy and sexual dis- 
eases. It would be a miracle if it turned out 
otherwise. No nation in modern times can live 
and be moral when its people eat and drink, work 
and sleep, bring forth children and come to death 
in one-room cabins. A one-room house, however 
clean, is not conducive to family morality, and the 
sooner we realize this and have some measure of 
sympathy for the weakness of people who live 
under such conditions, the sooner will we take 
steps to make conditions of life for the negro such 
ds will be more conducive to morality. 



82 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

After all, the question of negro health and 
housing is a moral question. His present mode 
of life is such as to render it well nigh impossible 
for him to be moral, and his present immorality 
makes him an inefficient laborer, an expensive 
criminal, a distributor of infectious diseases, and 
a moral plague. We are — whether we like it or 
not — ^bound in the matter of self-defense, to see 
that these conditions are changed. He must have a 
new sense of personal purity, he must have a new 
sense of the sacredness of the family relations, 
he must come to have a new pride in his home. 
To this end the houses in which he lives must 
be improved, the streets on which his house 
stands must be cleaner, and the sanitation in his 
section of the city must be made equal to that 
of any other section of the city in which he lives. 

Common Sense Policy 

It is not maudlin sentiment that dictates such 
a policy; it is sane commonsense. It is the law 
of economics which demands strong, healthy 
and efficient labor; it is the law of self-preserva- 
tion which knows the danger of social contamina- 
tion; it is the law of justice which would give to 
every man, whether rich or poor, learned or 
ignorant, white or black, an equal chance to 
achieve, and that under the fairest conditions ; it 
is these laws and not sentiment that demand the 
betterment of the negro's condition. 

Hopeful Signs 

Through the darkness of the present condition 
there are two rays of light. The first is the 



HEALTH AND HOUSING OF THE NEGRO 83 

awakening conscience of a respectable minority 
of the colored race, who are making a heroic 
fight to preserve their own purity of life, and do- 
ing what they can to lift their race out of the 
mire. All honor to the little band of brave, 
heroic souls. It is a battle worthy of the best 
steel. Here and there I have met these moral 
heroes, and their bold, hopeful courage in the 
oresence of such difficulties is a tonic to the faith 
of any man. He who would scorn such a fighter 
or laugh at his failures and mistakes has not 
the spirit of true chivalry in his heart. Would 
that we had more men who labored as unselfishly 
for what they conceive to be the good of their 
people, as are Washington, DuBois, Gilbert, 
Hunton, Hope and scores of others less promin- 
ent, but no less earnest. 

The second ray of light emanates from the 
awakening responsibility of the white man. As 
I have traveled from college to college, here and 
there I have found college men that really cared, 
men that saw the dire need of these "neighbors 
in black," and began to stretch out a hand to 
them. It is not strange — it is what one would 
expect — that this generation of college men are 
more interested in these human beings by their 
sides than any other class of men, and the time 
will come when every college man will see that 
his larger culture, his better chance, his broader 
outlook — all these put him under obligation to 
help the race that is down. 



IV 

THE EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO 



UNEXPRESSED 

Deep in my heart that aches with the repression. 
And strives with plenitude of bitter pain, 

There lives a thought that clamors for expression. 
And spends its undelivered force in vain. 

What boots it that some other may have thought it ? 

The right of thoughts' expression is divine; 
The price of pain I pay for it has bought it, 

I care not who lays claim to it — 'tis mine! 

And yet not mine until it be delivered; 

The manner of its birth shall prove the test. 
Alas, alas, my rock of pride is shivered — , 

I beat my brow — the thought still unexpressed. 

— Paul Laurence Dunbar, 



IV 

THE EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO 

Prejudice Against Education 

Aside from the question of social inter- 
mingling, perhaps the question of negro educa- 
tion has aroused more prejudice and created 
more discussion than any other in connection with 
the race problem. Those who have studied the 
prevailing opinion among Southern whites must 
recognize that there is little enthusiasm for the 
educated negro. As a civilized nation we have 
long since accepted the maxim that "knowledge 
is power," and that any nation which keeps its 
people in ignorance is doomed to mediocrity. But 
somehow we have not applied this thought to the 
colored race of America, i erhaps this attitude 
has arisen out of the fear that education will 
lead to negro dominance- in politics and to pro- 
miscuous mingling in social life. The Southern 
white man will never be enthusiastic for negro 
education until he is convinced that such educa- 
tion will not lead to either of these. Neither 
will he become enthusiastic until he finds the 
trained negro becoming a more efficient work- 
man and a better citizen. The so-called educated 
negro has not always proven himself a better 
laborer or a better citizen. This, perhaps, is 

87 



88 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

the fault neither of education nor of the negro- 
it is the fault of mistaken ideas of what con- 
stitutes education. There has been much said 
about the decrease of illiteracy among negroes 
from somewhere between 90 per cent, and 100 
per cent in 1865, to only 43 per cent, in 1909. 
This is a marvelous development, and is a long 
step toward education. To be able to read and 
write opens up an entirely new world to men. It 
is as though one opened the eyes of the blind or 
unstopped the ears of the deaf. But I can easily 
understand that the discordant noises of the 
world would break with great harshness on those 
ears which had always been closed, and the soul 
with this new gateway of knowledge suddenly 
opened would be completely bewildered and fail 
to understand the meaning of all these conflict- 
ing noises. So it is with the negro who has just 
come into possession of the use of these strange 
symbols that we call an alphabet. He is not 
at once transformed into a man with a cultured 
mind; he must be bewildered by much that he 
reads, having no key to its real understanding. 
Education for the negro has not been tried, for 
the little smattering of knowledge which he has 
may well have bewildered him rather than cleared 
his thought. 

Present Negroes vs. Slave Negroes 

It is not unlikely that the negro is more im- 
moral to-day than he was during slavery days — 
now that he is all too free. Neither can it be 
denied that the mass of negroes were better 
trained workmen during slavery days than now, 



THE EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO 89 

even though in slavery days nine out of every 
ten were illiterate. Not infrequently men have 
jumped to the conclusion that the cause of the 
immorality and of the economic inefficiency is 
education. This, however, is an entirely unwar- 
ranted conclusion. 

Unfounded Argument 

"These opponents of negro education, with the 
lack of logic characteristic of the man who draws 
general conclusions from a few particulars and 
sees only what is superficially discernible with- 
out looking for deeper and more far-reaching 
causes, ascribe the cause of this difference to 
the little education that the negro has received. 
The modern negro has had some sort of educa- 
tion and the old-issue negro had none, therefore 
they argue education is the cause of the inferior- 
ity of the modern negro. They forget that the 
best of the old negroes were trained in the best 
industrial schools, on farms and in shops, for the 
work they were to do in life, under the direction 
of intelligent masters ; that in many instances the 
intimacy of relations between them and the 
families of humane masters afforded them an en- 
vironment, association and example that proved 
most potent in shaping and strengthening their 
characters; and that the whole social system of 
the old regime was conducive to training the 
negroes in obedience, self-restraint and industry. 
Though these old negroes were ignorant of 
books, they were, from earliest infancy, trained 
snd educated in many of the essentials of good 
citizenship and efficient service. The present 



90 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

generation of negroes have been given a mere 
smattering of the unessentials of knowledge, and 
left imtrained in those other things so essential 
to life and happiness and progress. The new 
generation, without preparation, were ushered 
into freedom and have been left to follow largely 
their own will without direction or restraint, 
save that of the criminal law, without elevating 
associations, without leaders or teachers, save a 
few rare exceptions." 

Need of Practical Demonstration 

"We cannot answer effectively this prejudice 
against negro education, arising from the results 
produced by causes largely attributable, perhaps, 
to revolutionized social, political and industrial 
conditions wrought by the tornado of civil war, 
save with a practical demonstration of the better 
results of a better education. All the evils of a 
reconstruction of society, life and government 
upon a weak race unprepared for such changes, 
ushered into the new order of things with but 
few intelligent, wise, right-thinking leaders, with- 
out power of proper self-restraint or self-direc- 
tion, have been laid by the demagogues, by the 
unthinking, and by some other men and women 
as honest and patriotic as any that breathe, at the 
door of partial education as the quickest, easiest 
and most plausible solution of the unsatisfac- 
tory results. Too few stop to think what might 
have been the result if the new generation of 
negroes had been allowed to grow up in absolute 
ignorance under these changed conditions, with 
the rights and freedom of citizens of a republic, 
without the restraint of the training and the 



THE EDUCATION OF THE NECKO QT 

association of educated masters, as under the 
old system. Too few stop to think that what- 
ever of deterioration there may have been in 
the new generation of negroes, as compared with 
the old, may be more attributable to a change in 
civilization and in the whole order of things than 
to the little learning that he has received. Too 
few stop to think of the danger and the unfair- 
ness of the sort of reasoning that compares the 
best of the old generation of negroes with the 
worst of the new, that compares the partly edu- 
cated negro of the present generation with the 
illiterate negro of the old generation, who, though 
ignorant of books, had much knowledge of many 
useful industries and trades and better oppor- 
tunities of acquiring such knowledge ; instead of 
comparing the literate negro of the new genera- 
tion with the illiterate negro of the new genera- 
tion, that ascribes all the faults found in the 
new generation to the smattering of learning that 
they have received and all the virtues found in 
the old generation to their illiteracy. One is 
partly educated, the other was illiterate; there- 
fore education is the cause of the faults of the 
one and illiteracy of the virtues of the other. The 
absurdity of such logic ought to be manifest to 
the average man. Here are two men, one edu- 
cated, the other ignorant. One becomes a mur- 
derer, for there have been educated murderers in 
all times; the other becomes a good citizen, for 
there have been ignorant good citizens in all 
times; therefore education makes murderers and 
ignorance makes good citizens." ^ 

■"Report of North Carolina Superintendent of Pub- 
lic Instruction. 1906-7; 1907-8, pp. 44, 45. 



92 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

Reconstruction and Prejudice Against Education 

Another cause for prejudice against negro 
education arises out of its checkered career 
during reconstruction days. At that particular 
time the relationship between the Northern white 
and the Southern white man was greatly strained. 
The North suspected the South of keeping the 
negro in ignorance in order that he might be 
exploited; and the South suspected the North of 
trying to educate the negro in order that he 
might have political dominion and sooner or later 
lay claim to so-called social equality. Both sides 
were in a measure right and it is certain now 
that both were in a measure wrong. It is usually 
an unsafe thing to condemn wholesale the 
motives and the judgment of the people of a 
whole section, whether North or South. Never- 
theless, in the passion of the times, many mistakes 
were made by the missionaries who came South, 
which completely alienated the Southern whites, 
and it is only within the last decade that this 
gulf has been at all adaquately bridged. Even 
now there are not a few sincere Southern men 
who confuse negro education with doctrines of 
social intermingling. It is now time we were 
forgetting this feeling and facing like men the 
question of negro education on its merits, with- 
out reference to the mistakes of the past, save in 
so far as they may serve as warnings for the 
present. 

Education in Slave Days 

The history of negro education before the 
Civil War is very checkered and also very 



THE EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO 93 

meager. It was not thought wise to educate the 
slaves lest they might become restive, hence one 
State after another, both North and South, put 
laws on their statute books forbidding the teach- 
ing of negroes. In 1740 South Carolina passed 
a law with the following provisions : 

"Whereas, the having of slaves taught to write, 
or suffering them to be employed in writing, may 
be attended with inconvenience be it enacted. 
That all and any person or persons whatsoever, 
who shall hereafter teach, or cause any slave or 
slaves to be taught, or shall use or employ any 
slave as scribe in any manner of writing what- 
ever, hereafter taught to write, every such person 
or persons shall for every such offense forfeit the 
sum of 100 pounds current money." * 

In 1 83 1 Virginia followed suit with the fol- 
lowing law: 

"That all meetings of free negroes or mulat- 
toes at any school house, church, meeting-house 
or other place for teaching them reading or writ- 
ing, either in the day or night, under whatsoever 
pretext, shall be deemed an unlawful assembly. 
. . . If any white person or persons assemble 
with free negroes or mulattoes at any school 
house, church, meeting-house, or other place for 
the purpose of instructing such free negroes or 
mulattoes to read or write, such person or persons 
shall, on conviction thereof, be fined a sum not 
exceeding $50, and, moreover, may be impris- 
oned, at the discretion of a jury, not exceeding 
two months."^ 



^"Race Adjustment." — Miller, p. 251. 
*Ibid. p. 252. 



94 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

In 1829 Georgia put on her statute books a 
law which reads as follows: 

"If any slave, negro, or free person of color, or 
any white person, shall teach any other slave, 
negro, or free person of color to read or write, 
either written or printed characters, the said free 
person of color or slave shall be punished by fine 
and whipping, or fine or whipping, at the dis- 
cretion of the court; and if a white person so 
offend he, she, or they shall be punished with a 
fine not exceeding $500 and imprisonment in the 
common jail, at the discretion of the court." ^ 

Mississippi, North Carolina, Kentucky and 
Louisiana in establishing their systems of public 
education between 1830 and 1840 all discrim- 
inated against the colored race. 

In spite of these facts, however, there were a 
number of schools in existence before i860 for 
the training of the children of freedmen. It is 
estimated that in the slave States at the opening 
of the war there were no less than 4,000 free 
colored children in school. 

Freedman's Bureau 

The second period of negro education extends 
from i860 to 1875. This is the period of the 
army schools, the Freedman's Bureau, and of 
Northern domination. The "army schools," as 
they were called, were made up of those negroes 
who fled to the Federal armies and were organ- 
izd into schools. When the Freedman's Bureau 
opened work in 1866, these schools had in attend- 
ance nearly one hundred thousand. When Gen- 

*"Race Adjustment."— Miller, p. 248. 



THE EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO 05 

eral O. O. Howard was put in charge of the 
Freedman's Bureau he took over these schools, 
gave them a better organization, doubled their 
attendance, and brought in a large number of the 
best young women of the North as teachers. 
That these schools did not do all that could be 
expected was surely not due to the lack of un- 
selfishness on the part of these teachers. 

Period of Industrialism 

About 1870 the Southern States began estab- 
lishing schools for negroes, and by 1875 ^ con- 
structive policy was in the making. With the 
establishment of Hampton Institute a new type of 
education came into vogue, which has greatly in- 
fluenced all subsequent educational methods. The 
third period of negro education, therefore, has 
been marked by a decided tendency toward in- 
dustrialism. This tendency has been constantly 
accentuated as the industrial awakening of the 
South has been more and more pronounced. 

A Dual System of Schools 

It was during this period that the South came 
to realize the stupendous task that lay before her 
in educating two races in separate school systems, 
and yet with heroism the men of this section have 
set their faces forward and they will not turn 
back. This dual system has been expensive in a 
country so sparsely settled as the South, and it is 
but natural that it should have meant poorer 
schools, shorter terms and more meager salaries. 
Nevertheless it has been a necessity. In many of 
the counties of the South there are two, three or 



g6 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

even ten negroes to every white man, and to mix 
the schools in these sections would be to reduce 
the more advanced race to the station of the less 
advanced. 

This would be an expensive process both for . 
the white and the colored race. If the colored 
race is to find its largest progress, it must be 
through the inspiration aftd help of the more 
cultured race, and that race to give its best, needs 
to have opportunity to develop its children under 
the most favorable conditions. Not only so, but 
the negro has gained in that he has had a chance 
to furnish the teachers and leaders for his own 
race. This has set a goal of ambition for the 
negro youth, and has meant much to engender a 
real race pride. Had the races been educated to- 
gether, the schools would have had white 
teachers, and the negro would have lost this ad- 
vantage. Under the heavy burden of a double 
school system the South has moved steadily and 
bravely forward. 

Elementary Education Needed 

Three types of education are needed for the 
negro of the South. The first is that of the 
elementary public school. This the South has 
deliberately set out to furnish. According to the 
Report of the United States Commissioner of 
Education for 1909, there were in the former 
slave States 3,054,888 negro children between 
the ages of five and eighteen. Of this number 
1,659,217, or about 54 per cent., were enrolled in 
the common schools of these States. Including 
the numbers in two or three of the border States, 



THE EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO 97 

there were 3,114 male teachers and 5,886 female 
teachers in charge of these children. All of the 
Southern States do not keep separate records of 
expenditures for the education of the two races, 
so no exact amount can be given. North Car- 
olina does keep such a record. This State had 
231,801 colored children of school age in 1908, as 
compared with 483,915 white children. For the 
colored children the State spent on common 
schools $366,734.28, as compared with $1,851,- 
376.57 for white children. In other words, for 
less than half the number of children about one- 
fifth of the amount spent for whites was spent on 
colored schools. The expenditure per colored 
child was $1.58, that for each white child of 
school age, $3.82. If this same proportion holds 
for the other former slave States, the total ex- 
penditure for negro common schools for 1907-8 
would be $12,487,079. Of course, one cannot be 
sure that this is even an approximately close 
estimate. The total amount of money spent in 
the common schools of these former slave States 
since 1870 is $979,831,485. If one-fifth of this 
has been spent on negro schools — which is prob- 
ably too large an estimate — the amount would be 
$195,966,097. This would be really an enormous 
sum spent by the white people of the South on 
the education of the negro, particularly when we 
consider the poverty which has prevailed in this 
section up to within the last few years. 

The Negro's Share 

Of this amount the negro is beginning to pay a 
fair proportion. Thus, in 1908, in North Car- 



98 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

olina, the negroes paid in taxes $147,949 toward 
the $366,734.28 spent on their schools. In this 
connection it must be noted that $1.58 is a very 
paltry sum to spend on the education of a child 
each year. At this rate between the ages of five 
and eighteen, the State would spend on every 
child $20.12. But New York and Massachusetts 
each spend ^2^ yearly on every child of school 
age, and the District of Columbia spends $35.21, 
and yet North Carolina's school tax is heavier 
than that of Massachusetts. While the South, 
therefore, is making a heroic effort to give the 
common school to the negro, the results are 
nothing less than pitiable. As the wealth of the 
section grows, there must be heavier school taxes 
if we are to do our duty by these backward 
people. 

Limitations 

The outcome of these meager appropriations 
can readily be seen in the length of term and 
salary of teachers. The average length of term 
for rural colored schools in North Carolina in 
1908 was 82,1 days, and the average length for 
all colored schools, including city high schools, 
was only 93 days. The average monthly salary of 
rural colored teachers this same year was $22.48, 
and for city colored teachers it was $30.20. 
There are still 195 log school houses for colored 
children in the State, and 2,216 of the negro 
school houses are still furnished with home- 
made desks and benches. I have before me the 
reports from almost every Southern State and 
the figures are often much lower. Thus, in 



THE EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO 99 

Georgia, the average length of term for white 
children is 59 days, and for colored children 40 
days. The salaries paid, however, are somewhat 
higher, being $37.65 per month for negro men, 
and $27.22 per month for negro women. In most 
of the States only about 50 per cent, of the 
negro children attend school, and then the school 
houses are overcrowded. In some of our South- 
ern cities I am told there are three children for 
every seat in a colored school house if they all 
should really attend. These statements are surely 
enough to show a great need for better educa- 
tional equipment. Of the need for better teachers 
we will speak later. 

Contribution of Public Schools 

The contribution which the negro common 
school makes to the civilizing and elevating of 
the negro, Mr. Edgar Gardner Murphy puts in 
the four following statements : 

1. ''It represents the discipline of punctuality. 
When the untutored child first gets into his mind 
the notion of going to a particular place and of 
doing a particular thing at a particular time, he 
has begun to get into line with conscious, intel- 
ligent, efficient human life. In other words, he 
has got hold of one of the rudimentary assump- 
tions of civilization." 

2. "It stands also for the discipline of order. 
The child finds not only that there is a time to 
come and a time to go, but that there is a place to 
sit and a place not to sit. He finds that there is 
a place for everything, that everything has its 
place, and that even standing and sitting, as well 



lOO NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

as the whole task of behaving, are to be per- 
formed under the control and direction of an- 
oth..' 

3. "The primary school stands also for the dis- 
cipline of silence. For a group of chattering 
children — negro children, any children — there is 
a moral, value in the discipline of silence. To 
learn how to keep still, to learn the lesson of self- 
containment and self-command, to get hold of 
the power of that personal calm which is half 
modesty and half courage, to learn a little of the 
meaning of quiet and something of the secret of 
listening — this is an element in that supremacy 
of will which is the faculty and privilege of the 
civilized. 

4. "Finally, the primary school stands for the 
discipline of association. It represents the idea 
of getting together. Getting together is a civil- 
izing exercise. Ten people, old or young, cannot 
get together in a common room for a common 
purpose without every one's yielding something 
for the sake of others — some whim, some impulse 
of restlessness, some specific convenience, or some 
personal comfort. Human society is a moral 
achievement. Associated effort, however slight the 
sphere of its exercise, represents part of the dis- 
cipline of civilization." ^ 

Industrial Schools Needed 

The second type of school needed for the negro 
is that which gives industrial training. In fact 
every common school should have some industrial 
features. One of the charges brought against 

^"The Present South."— Murphy, p. '^j,. 



THE EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO lOI 

the public schools, both for whites and blacks, is 
that they train children away from the practical 
interests of life. This practical side may easily 
be exaggerated, and our schools drift into simple 
bread and butter machines, without any of the 
cultural value which should pertain to any edu- 
cation; nevertheless, there is need that we shall 
guard against a too theoretical system of edu- 
cation. 

There is peculiar need to guard this point with 
the negro child since his new freedom has be- 
gotten a disposition to despise all labor. He must 
be taught that labor is sacred and that honest 
toil never degrades. If he is to have this atti- 
tude toward labor, he must be taught to use skill 
in his work, to take pride in his ability to do it 
better than others could do it. Possibly no sec- 
tion of the country is so greatly in need of 
skilled industrial laborers to-day as is the South. 
The marvelous growth of the cotton mills during 
the last two decades is the wonder of the manu- 
facturing world. The new demands for inten- 
sive farming make it imperative that we shall 
have better trained agriculturists. The develop- 
ment of building industries calls for thousands of 
skilled carpenters, masons, bricklayers, plumbers, 
painters, etc. Much of this work must be done 
by colored men. If they are not well trained, our 
farms will produce one-half or one third of what 
they ought to produce, our houses wHI be poorly 
built, and every industrial interest of our country 
will languish. Booker T. Washington has char- 
acterized industrial education as having these 
functions: (i) "To teach the dignity of labor"; 



I02 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

(2) "To teach the trades thoroughly and effect- 
ively"; (3) "To supply the demand for trained 
industrial leaders." '^ 

South an Agricultural Section 

The South is still largely an agricultural sec- 
tion. This is peculiarly true of the colored South. 
In spite of the rapid drift of the negro to the city, 
probably 80 per cent, of the colored laborers are 
on the farms. This means they must have some 
special training in agriculture. They must learn 
how to make two blades of grass grow where 
formerly only one grew. If this is to come about, 
every negro leader must have a deeper sympathy 
for this industrial life. Booker T. Washington 
puts it thus strongly: 

"I do not want to startle you when I say it. 
but I should like to see during the next fifty 
years every colored minister and teacher, whose 
work lies outside the large cities, armed with a 
thorough knowledge of theoretical and practical 
agriculture, in connection with his theological 
and academic training. This, I believe, should be 
so because the race is an agricultural one, and be- 
cause my hope is that it will remain such. Upon 
this foundation almost every race in history has 
got its start. With cheap lands, a beautiful 
climate and a rich soil, we can lay the foundation 
of a great and powerful race. The question 
that confronts us is whether we will take ad- 
vantage of this opportunity ?"- 

^ "Working with Hands," p. 80. 
* "Character Building," p. 262, 



THE EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO lO;^ 

Public Schools Not Industrial Schools 

Now the negro common or public school has 
not been able, up to the present time, to meet 
this need, because of small means. Superin- 
tendent Joyner puts it thus : "When we are ap- 
propriating only $366,734.28 for the education of 
231,801 negro children, we need not be enter- 
taining many hopes of giving the negro much 
helpful industrial training yet, for everybody 
ought to know that this amount is not sufficient to 
give this number of children thorough instruction 
in the mere rudiments of reading, writing and 
arithmetic, so essential to civilized living and in- 
telligent service in the humblest callings of life."^ 

Jeanes Foundation 

In order to meet this pressing need for agricul- 
tural and industrial training, Miss Anna T. 
Jeanes has set aside a fund of $1,000,000, the in- 
terest on which is to be applied in aiding rural 
schools. Prof. James H. Dillard, formerly Dean 
of the Academic Department of Tulane Univer- 
sity, is the president and general agent for the 
Jeanes Foundation, The methods of work of this 
Foundation can be gathered from Professor Dil- 
lard's report on the work done in Henrico Coun- 
ty, Va., during the year 1908-9 : 

"We supplied the county superintendent with 
the salary for a competent teacher, whose duty 
it should be to introduce industrial work into the 
twenty-two colored rural schools of the county, 
and to supervise the work. This teacher, Miss 

^ "Report of Superintendent of Public Schools of 
North Carolina." IQ07-8, p. 43. 



I04 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

Virginia E. Randolph, began work on October 
26, 1908, and the schools closed June i. She 
has spent her whole time in visiting these schools, 
sometimes two or three a day, so that the schools 
have had the benefit, not only of the industrial 
training, but of constant supervision, suggestion 
and encouragement. It has also been a part of 
her work to form in the various communities, 
organizations for school and home improvement. 

Miss Randolph writes me that the work of the 
schools is now on exhibition at the Henrico 
County Court House, and that the members of 
the Henrico board are agreeably surprised. I 
can state from letters received that the work is 
very heartily approved by the county superin- 
tendent. 

"There are very many counties in which it 
would be impossible at present to carry out this 
plan. Whether from lack of schools, or the wide 
separation of those that exist, or the shortness of 
term, or the incompetence of the teachers, the 
plan would not yet be feasible. I find, however, 
that it will be possible in many places to adopt a 
modification of the plan; that is, we can supply 
the salary for a teacher at the most favorable 
point in the county, have this teacher give three 
or four days' work to this school, and let her 
give the rest of her time to two, three or four 
neighboring schools, with the intention of in- 
fluencing these schools and communities in the 
same manner as has been done in Henrico 
County."* 

' "Report of United States Commissioner of Educa- 
tion." 1909. Vol. I, pp. 235-6. 



THE EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO IO5 

Other Form of Help 

During the first year of the work of this 
Foundation, ending July, 1909, $15,059 was thus 
spent in teachers' salaries, supplementing the 
common school with special industrial instruc- 
tion. It is much to be regretted that the fund 
is not much larger in order that this work might 
be greatly multiplied. 

Training Leaders 

To supply the leaders in this industrial educa- 
tion the country has to look to such schools as 
Hampton Institute in Virginia, and Tuskegee in 
Alabama. We are scarcely aware of the debt of 
gratitude we owe to these two schools and to 
those newer ones that are trying to embody 
their ideals. The ideal of these schools is to make 
men efficient, to teach them the dignity of labor, 
to inculcate the ideal of service, and to make real 
to every student his duties to God and man. 
Some people have found fault with Tuskegee 
because it has not trained servants for our homes. 
It has done a much more important thing. It has 
sent out hundreds of graduates who have be- 
come the foremost leaders of their race — training 
them to be industrious, to work regularly and to 
work efficiently. It is a better thing for a girl 
that graduates from Tuskegee to spend her en- 
ergies teaching other women how to cook and 
sew well than to spend her time in one white 
man's kitchen. Ultimately we reap the benefit in 
the form of a better trained laboring class. 
Booker T. Washington has so admirably de- 
scribed the purposes of this type of school in his 



lOO NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

introductory chapter to "Working with Hands," 
that I could wish that every Southern man would 
read it carefully. 

Special Training Needed 

The third type of negro education needed is 
what we may call collegiate training. Against 
this type of education there has been much op- 
position and prejudice. I suppose there is no 
doubt that it has at times been over emphasized 
and that students poorly qualified have been 
allowed to enter such courses. The negro, how- 
ever has no monopoly of this false policy in the 
South, where there are white colleges that take 
men from the plow handles and teach them every- 
thing from their letters "plumb through" to the 
final touches of classic lore in the remarkably 
short time of four years. That there have been 
mistakes made in negro education cannot be 
doubted. The question for us to consider, how- 
ever, is what are the needs of a rightly directed 
collegiate training for negroes. It seems to me 
there are three classes of men that must have ad- 
vanced training; these are the ministers, the 
teachers and the professional class, including phy- 
sicians and dentists. 

Policy of Self Help 

It is a well established policy of all missionary 
work to put the burden of responsibility on the 
natives just as rapidly as representative leaders 
can be trained for these tasks. The same policy 
has been followed in the South with regard to 
the negro. We have turned over to the negro 



THE EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO lO/ 

preacher the development of the religious and 
moral life of his race ; to the teacher the develop- 
ment of its intellectual life; and as rapidly as 
possible we are turning over to their physicians 
and dentists the care of the physical well-being 
of the negro. This is just as it should be, but 
the questions of supreme importance both to the 
colored man and to the white man are : Are these 
leaders competent to do their work? Are they 
sufficiently educated to have broad sympathies 
and clear judgment ? Can they be trusted in times 
of crises to lead their people aright? These 
are questions of tremendous import. In the 
answer to them much of the well-being and peace 
of the South depends. 

Trained Ministers Needed 

As we shall see in a later chapter the negro 
minister is all too frequently ignorant, prejudiced, 
emotional, and even immoral. Education does 
not always change a man's morals, and yet it 
may be said to the credit of the negro educated 
ministers, that they stand head and shoul- 
ders above the general mass in morals and 
in fair mindedness. No negro minister can be a 
good leader of his people who does not know the 
moving of God in history. He must have thor- 
ough training in the Bible. He must have some 
acquaintance with the laws of human life. In 
short, the negro minister must have much of the 
same kind of training that our white ministers 
need, with the exception, perhaps, of the languages. 
Be it said to the credit of most of the negro col- 
leges they jut more stress on English, history and 



I08 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

economics than on the more impractical branches. 
I confess I am disappointed that some of the 
catalogues seem to indicate an overfondness for 
Latin and Greek. This, however, will be righted 
when the Southern white man gives sufficient 
study to this whole question to be able to give 
sane counsel. 

Physicians and Dentists Needed 

In another chapter we have referred to the need 
of better medical attention among negroes. This 
can be had only through a well trained medical 
and dental fraternity of the negro race. For this 
purpose we must have well equipped and well 
endowed medical and dental colleges. 

Trained Teachers Needed 

Lastly, we must have better trained negro 
teachers. According to the State School Com- 
missioner of Georgia, the number of negro 
teachers in that State holding normal certificates 
in 1908 was only 326. Only 129 held first grade 
certificates, 476 held second grade certificates, 
while the vast majority, 2,037, held third grade 
certificates. When one remembers the exceed- 
ingly low requirements for a third grade certif- 
icate, it is no wonder that negro education is so 
inefficient, and apparently shows such poor 
results. 

Broad Culture Needed 

It is coming to be a maxim of good education 
that the elementary teacher needs as broad cul- 
ture and as thorough training as the teacher in 



THE EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO IO9 

higher branches. Otherwise the teaching in the 
lower grades becomes simply a process of ques- 
tions and answers, according to the letter of the 
text book. In order that there may be a more 
thorough uplift of the negro cWld there must be 
a better training of the negro teacher. 

Schools of Advanced Standing 

Now of all the schools that are attempting 
to do work of high school grade and upward, not 
counting public schools, including all the indus- 
trial schools, such as Tuskegee, there are in the 
former slave States, plus those in Ohio, Penn- 
sylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Oklahoma, 
just 135 institutions, according to the report of 
the United States Commissioner of Education for 
1909. These schools enroll 9,775 boys and 13,734 
girls of elementary grades, 7,751 boys and 9,258 
girls of secondary grade, and 2,885 "^^^ ^^^ 
1,300 women of collegiate grade.^ 

Leaders in Training 

In other words, there were in process of train- 
ing for leadership in the ministry, teaching and 
the professions only 2,885 ^^^ '^^ the year 1909. 
This little handful of men — not so many as the 
number of colored teachers in the single State of 
Georgia — are to be the leaders of 9,000,000 col- 
ored people. Surely this is not an overcrowding 
in the realm of trained leadership. 

Work for 33 Colleges and their Graduates 

Professor DuBois, in the report of the Atlanta 
University Conference for 1902, tabulates thirty- 

* "Report of U. S. Commissioner of Education," 1909. 



no NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

three colleges that he thinks should really 
bear that title. From these colleges up to 1899 
there have been graduated 2,008 negroes. From 
the Northern universities there have been 
graduated several hundred more (400?), so that 
from all sources Professor DuBois estimates there 
are probably 2,500 negro graduates in America. 
Of this number probably 80 per cent, are at 
work in the South. In order to find out what 
these college graduates do an investigation was 
undertaken by Atlanta University. Letters were 
written to all the 2,500 college-bred negroes who 
could be located, asking their occupation, etc. 
1,312 sent replies. Of this number 701 or 53 
per cent, were teachers, 221 or 17 per cent, were 
preachers, 83 or 6.3 per cent, were physicians, 53 
or 4 per cent, were in Civil Service work, and 
the remainder were in business, farming, secre- 
tarial positions, etc. * Of the efficiency of these, 
graduates and of the moral worth, Booker T. 
Washington writes : "Not a single graduate of the 
Hampton Institute or of the Tuskegee Institute 
can be found to-day in any jail or State peniten- 
tiary. After making careful inquiry, I cannot 
find a half-dozen cases of a man or a woman 
who has completed a full course of education in 
any of our reputable institutions like Hampton, 
Tuskegee, Fisk or Atlanta who are in prisons. 
The records of the South show that 90 per cent, 
of the colored people in prisons are without 
knowledge of trades, and 61 per cent, are illit- 
erate."^ 

This is surely a splendid showing, and should 

* Atlanta University Publication, No. 5, passim. 

* "Working with Hands," p. 235. 



THE EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO III 

put our minds at ease on this much-mooted ques- 
tion of the higher education of the negro. 

Recommendations of Southern Educational 
Association 

That the education of the negro is not a 
failure is well indicated by the resolutions ad- 
opted by the Southern Educational Association 
at its meeting in 1907: 

"We endorse the accepted policy of the States 
of the South in providing educational facilities 
for the youth of the negro race, believing that 
whatever the ultimate solution of this grievous 
problem may be, education must be an important 
factor in that solution." 

*'We believe that the education of the negro in 
the elementary branches of education should be 
made thorough, and should include specific in- 
struction in hygiene and home sanitation, for the 
better protection of both races." 

"We believe that in the secondary education of 
negro youth, emphasis should be placed upon 
agriculture and the industrial occupations, in- 
cluding nurse training, domestic science, and 
home economics." 

"We believe that for practical, economical and 
psychological reasons negro teachers should be 
provided for negro schools." 

"We advise instruction in normal schools and 
normal institutions by white teachers, whenever 
possible, and closer supervision of courses of 
study and methods of teaching in negro normal 
schools by the State Department of Education." 

"We recommend that in urban and rural negro 
schools there should be closer and more thorough 



112 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

supervision, not only by city and county super- 
intendents, but also by directors of music, draw- 
ing, manual training, and other special topics." 

"We urge upon school authorities everywhere 
the importance of adequate buildings, comfort- 
able seating, and sanitary accommodations for 
negro youth." 

"We deplore the isolation of many negro 
schools, established through motives of philan- 
thropy, from the life and the sympathies of the 
communities in which they are located. We 
recommend the supervision of all such schools 
by the State, and urge that their work and their 
methods be adjusted to the civilization in which 
they exist, in order that the maximum good of 
the race and of the community may be thereby 
attained." 

"On account of economics and psychological 
difference in the two races, we believe that there 
should be a difference in courses of study and 
methods of teaching, and that there should be 
such an adjustment of school curricula as shall 
meet the evident needs of negro youth." 

"We insist upon such an equitable distribution 
of the school funds that all the youth of the 
negro race shall have at least an opportunity to 
receive the elementary education provided by the 
State, and in the administration of State laws, 
and in the execution of this educational policy, we 
urge patience, tolerance and justice." 

Education vs. Ignorance 

It has never been found in all the world that a 
sane and thorough intellectual equipment has 



THE EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO II3 

been detrimental to morals or to industrial effici- 
ency. The negro is no exception to this rule. It 
is not the educated negro that fills our peniten- 
tiary and jails, works in our chain gangs and fills 
our poor-houses. These places are given over 
to the ignorant and depraved. It is not the edu- 
cated negro that makes up our idle and vagrant 
class, that commits our murders and despoils 
our women. Here, again, it is the illiterate and 
degraded negro. The trained negro lives in a 
better home, wears better clothes, eats better 
food, does more efficient work, creates more 
wealth, rears his children more decently, makes a 
more decent citizen, and in times of race friction 
is always to be found on the side of law and 
order. These things seem to be worthy fruits, 
and whatever system produces them should have 
our approval. If we are to be fair to ourselves, 
fair to the section in which we live, and fair to 
the negro race, we must see that a common school 
education is provided for all, that industrial train- 
ing is given to the majority, and that a more 
thorough and complete training shall be given to 
the capable few who are to become the leaders of 
this race. 



V 

THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF THE NEGRO 



RELIGION 

I am no priest of crooks nor creeds. 
For human wants and human needs 
Are more to me than prophets' deeds; 
And human tears and human cares 
Affect me more than human prayers. 

Go, cease your wail, lugubrious saint! 
You fret high Heaven with your plaint. 
Is this the "Christian's joy" you paint? 
Is this the Christian's boasted bliss? 
Avails your faith no more than this? 

Take up your arms, come out with me. 
Let Heav'n alone; humanity 
Needs more and Heaven less from thee. 
With pity for mankind look 'round; 
Help them to rise — and Heaven is found. 

— Paul Laurence Dunbar. 



THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF THE NEGRO 

Religious Index 

One index of the life of a people is its re- 
ligion. Find the context of that term and you 
have found the key to the civilization or the sav- 
agery of a people, the key to its progress or its 
stagnation. Not only ^e content of a religion 
but the attitude of s people toward that religion 
are topics of supreme importance in a discussion 
such as this. 

What is Religion 

Professor Rhys-Davids contends that religion 
includes three conceptions, "first, beliefs as to 
internal an(5 :ixternal mysteries (souls and gods) 
— second, the mental attitudes induced by these 
beliefs, thirdly, the actions and conduct depend- 
ent upon both." ^ 

Professor Jevons would define religion as 
"man's consciousness of a supernatural spirit (or 
spirits) having affinity with his own spirit and 
having power over him."^ Dr. Tiele says : "The 
origin of religion consists in the fact that man has 
the Infinite within him even before he is himself 

^"Buddhism: American Lectures," p. 4. 
* Introduction to the "History of Religion," p. 15. 
117 



Il8 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

conscious of it, and whether he recognizes it or 
not."^ 

Perhaps we may define reUgion as man's con- 
sciousness of a higher but kindred being with 
whom he desires and ought to live on terms of 
truest fellowship. If such be in any sense a true 
definition of religion, it will be readily seen that 
such consciousness must have deep meaning for 
ever> nation as well as for every individual. 

Negro Ancestry 

In order that we may understand the religion 
of the present negro, we must take a look at 
his religious life in his fatherland. According to 
Mr. Dowd- the races of Africa fall under five di- 
visions. First, the Negritos, dwelling in the low- 
lands of the central equatorial region ; second, the 
Negritians, occupying the territory of the Sudan ; 
third, the Fellatahs, scattered among the Negri- 
tians of Central Sudan ; fourth, the Bantus, oc- 
cupying almost all the Western portion of the 
continent, south of the fourth degree of north 
latitude; and fifth, the Gallas, occupying the 
southeastern portion of Africa. It was from the 
fourth division, the Bantus, that most of the 
slaves were brought to America, and it is among 
these same tribes that the atrocities of the rubber 
and ivory trade have recently been perpetrated. 

God's Self-Revelation 

It is generally agreed now by anthropologists, 
I believe, that there are no races, however rude, 

* "Elements of the Science of Religion," Vol. 2, p. 30. 
'"The Negro Races," p. 11. 



THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF THE NEGRO II9 

that are destitute of all idea of religion.^ It is 
further agreed, I believe, by most Christian think- 
ers that God has always been trying and still is 
trying to make Himself known to all men. That 
this revelation is not equally clear and without 
admixture for all men need not cause surprise, 
for the content of a message is not determined 
alone by the speaker, but by the varying capaci- 
ties and degrees of attention on the part of the 
listeners. That the Bantu tribes have some con- 
ception of God — however crude it may seem — 
is not doubted by those that have worked among 
them longest and known them best. 

"Standing in the village street, surrounded by 
a company whom their chief has graciously sum- 
moned at my request, I do not need to begin by 
telling them that there is a God. Looking on that 
motley assembly of villagers — the bold, gaunt 
cannibal with his armament of gun, spear, and 
dagger; the artisan with rude adz in hand, or 
hands soiled at the antique bellows of the village 
smithy ; women who have hastened from their 
kitchen fire with hands white with the manioc 
dough or still grasping the partly scaled fish — 
I have yet to be asked, 'Who is God?' "' 

"The belief in one great Supreme Being is uni- 
versal. Nor is this idea held imperfectly or ob- 
scurely developed in their minds. The impression 
is so deeply engraved upon their moral and men- 
tal nature that any system of Atheism strikes 

^Jevons' "Introduction to the History of Religion,' 
p. 7- 
""Fetichism in West Africa," Nassau, p. 36. 



I20 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

them as too absurd and preposterous to require 
a denial."^ 

Debased Conception of God 

But, of course, this conception of God is much 
debased and mixed with many superstitions. 
They do not think of God as a father who loves 
and cares for his children, but as a vague being 
responsible for man's existence, but caring 
little for man's destiny. "The prevailing notion 
seems to be that God, after having made the 
world and filled it with inhabitants, retired to 
some remote corner of the universe, and has 
allowed the affairs of the world to come under 
the control of evil spirits; and hence the only 
religious worship that is ever performed is di- 
rected to these spirits, the object of which is to 
court their favor, or ward off the evil effects of 
their displeasure."^ 

Spirits 

The spirits are of three classes as to origin. 
First, those existing from eternity — those con- 
terminous with the Supreme being — Paia- 
Njambi; second, those created by the Supreme 
Being; third, the souls of dead human beings. 
These spirits fill the air and inhabit the rocks, 
the caverns, the trees and even take up their 
abode in wild animals. Graveyards are their 
favorite abiding places, hence every native stands 
in fear of such grounds. 

^Wilson's "Western Africa," p. 39. 
^Idem, p. 39. 



THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF THE NEGRO 121 

Origin of Belief in Spirits 

The original conception of spirits probably 
arose from two sources. First, all savages be- 
lieve that not only plants and animals have spirits 
but also inanimate things. Whatever moves has 
life — has a spirit. The stream as it runs and 
sings, the lightning as it flashes or strikes, the 
flame as it flickers or consumes the wood are all 
supposed to be alive. Not only so, but the rock 
against which man falls and it cuts him, the tree 
which seems to spring of itself out of the ground, 
and numerous other objects have life within 
them. Thus animism — the imputing of spirits 
to objects of nature — has its rise, and from this 
it is a short step to the fear and worship of 
spirits. 

Secondly, the idea of spirits arises from man's 
experiences in dreams. These experiences to the 
savage are as real as any waking experience. 
While he sleeps his spirit wanders — it meets the 
spirits of friends and they recognize each other ; 
when he wakes he is perfectly sure that he has 
seen and talked with his friend. But he is told 
that his body has been in his bed — well, then, his 
spirit has been journeying at will. When he 
wakes — this is just the return of his spirit to 
his body. Hence death is simply a continued 
sleep, where the spirit refuses to return to its 
body. When a man dies, therefore, his spirit is 
set wandering, having power to help or harm 
where it pleases. His spirit may take up its 
abode in an animal and return to vex the life of 
his enemies or even his own family. Dr. Nassau 
tells us of a native who refused to kill an ele- 



122 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

phant that was ravaging his crop, because he 
thought his dead father's spirit had taken up its 
abode in that particular animal. 

Character of Spirits 

The character of these disembodied spirits is 
the same as the characters of the living men. 
They are benevolent or malevolent, full of kind- 
ness or full of hatred, in accordance with their 
former existence. If they have been slighted 
while in their embodied form, they may come 
back to take revenge on their enemies. The fact 
that these spirits have not the encumbrance of 
a body may make them ten times more powerful 
than any living man, and the further fact that 
they can act without detection throws about the 
life of the native African a constant dread and 
fear which is almost paralyzing. 

Origin of Magic Witch Doctors 

The one recourse of the savage is to placate 
these spirits, winning their favor and warding 
off their anger. This gives rise to a complicated 
system of magic. In order to protect himself 
against the anger of these spirits, the native 
employs the services of the witch doctor. This 
witch doctor or medicine man is supposed to have 
great power over evil spirits. They have power 
to condemn to death any person suspected of 
causing death; they are supposed to be able to 
drive out the spirits that cause sickness; they 
may call back the spirits of those near unto 
death — for all of which seryices they deni^nd 
great respect and large fees, 



THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF THE NEGRO I23 

Meaning of Fetiches 

One of the chief methods of work of the medi- 
cine man or witch doctor is the preparation and 
use of fetiches. A fetich is any rag, string, 
stone, shell, tooth, piece of wood or what not, 
into which a magic doctor has coaxed a spirit to 
take up its abode, or into which a spirit has vol- 
untarily entered. The material in itself is not 
sacred, but the fact that a spirit dwells in it 
gives it power to ward off sickness or defend one 
against his enemies. If the spirit leaves the 
fetich then the wood or stone is cast away and 
another is found. "He addresses his prayer to 
it and extols its virtues; but should his enter- 
prise not prosper he will cast his deity aside as 
useless, and cease to worship it; he will address 
it with torrents of abuse, and will even beat it, 
to make it serve him better. It is a deity at his 
disposal, to serve in the accomplishment of his 
desires; the individual keeps gods of his own to 
help him in his undertakings." * 

White and Black Art 

So long as these fetiches are used simply for 
protection the owner is a practicer of white art, 
but, when they are used to injure others or force 
others to do certain things pleasing to the owner 
of the fetich, their possessor is said to practice 
black art. It is this latter that keeps the Afri- 
can native in constant fear. At any hour 
his enemy may by witchcraft destroy his prop- 
erty, rob him of his friends or take his life. All 
that an enemy has to do is to get some of his 

^ "History of Religion." p. 32, Menzies. 



124 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

victim's hair, his nails, or water in which he 
has bathed, and have a witch doctor make a con- 
coction which, buried in front of the victim's 
door or secretly hung in his room, will bring 
sure death. If the man dies, this black art has 
worked; if he fails to die, then he himself has a 
fetich stronger than the spirit that was trying to 
induce his death. In this murderous supersti- 
tion the natives have absolute confidence. 

Religious Constituents 

These, then, are the constituents of the African 
religion: A God who created man and is su- 
preme, but who has gone away into the corner 
of the universe and is no longer interested in 
his creation ; an infinite host of spirits, good and 
bad, which hold the destinies of men in their 
hands and whose favor must, therefore, be won; 
witch doctors and medicine men who conjure 
with the spirits and keep the people in constant 
awe; fetiches which are the habitats of spirits 
used for protection ; and the practice of black art 
with all of its murderous motives and deeds. 
Of course, there are elements of moral power in 
.'^ this religion, but so much is it degraded that one 
almost wonders if God has been able to reveal 
himself in the smallest degree to these people. 

Religion of the Slave 

When the Bantu slave was brought to Amer- 
ica he brought with him all the superstitions, all 
the wild savagery of his religion. One does 
not need to go far to find that this religion still 
has its remnants in the life of the negro race of 



THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF THE NEGRO 125 . 

to-day. In particular the fetich held sway among 
these benighted people — as is still exemplified 
in the carrying of the rabbit foot and other 
relics for the sake of warding off evil. ''Not only 
did this religion of the fetich endure under slav- 
ery, it grew. It was a secret religion that lurked 
thinly covered in slavery days, and that lurks to- 
day beneath the negro's Christian profession as a 
white art, and among non-professors as a black 
art; a memory of the revenges of his African 
ancestors." ^ Thousands of negroes still believe 
implicitly in hoodoos, spirits, witchcraft, ghosts. 
In the city of Nashville, some years ago, a group 
of medical students went out to "snatch" a body 
for dissecting purposes. They were piloted by a 
negro man who betrayed them into the hands of 
a band of armed negroes. In the dark of the 
night the armed negroes shot into the party and 
accidentally killed the negro pilot. Since that 
time the house which he then occupied has not 
been used. No negro will rent it for fear of 
being troubled by the spirit of the dead man 
who was killed because of treachery. A negro 
that has had considerable schooling and has had 
employment among white people for years told 
me that the spirit of this man could be heard 
every night moaning and crying in the house 
where he had formerly lived. As a test I offered 
this negro five dollars to go with me at mid- 
night into this house, which he refused, saying 
he would not go for five hundred. This seems 
to me purely a survival of the old African spirit 
belief. Hoodoo or Voodoo (French Creole 
^ "Fetichism in West Africa, p. 274. Nassau. 



126 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

Vaudois — the witchcraft of the Waldensians) is 
no more nor less than the survival of the black 
art, against which a fetich or charm must be 
carried. 

"And you's got a rabbit foot to drive away 
the Hoodoo!" 

It is not unlikely that the stories of Uncle 
Remus are direct descendants of the folk tales 
which lived centuries ago in Africa. In fact, 
many of the superstitions of the uneducated ne- 
gro of to-day can be traced directly back to the 
African home of the slave. 

Tenacity of Religious Tradition 

Religious tradition outlives all others, and may 
manifest itself long after its origin or meaning 
is forgotten. We need not be surprised, there- 
fore, if we find the religious life of the Amer- 
ican negro filled with superstition and less re- 
lated to morals than our own ethical sense would 
demand. We must remember that New England 
did not throw off her witchcraft for many years 
and not all the white people of the South are 
free from belief in a hoodoo- 

Grades of Religious Life 

It must be understood that negro religious 
life, like any other rehgious life, varies widely. 
There are many well educated and cultured ne- 
groes who have moved far away from all the 
superstitions, and in whose lives their religion is 
a vital moral force. Of these we will speak more 
at length under religious development. We are 



THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF THE NEGRO 1 27 

here concerned about the elemental types of, ne- 
gro religion. 

Characterization of Negro Religion 

From what has preceded we are prepared to 
believe that the religion of the masses may be 
characterized as partly superstitious, largely 
emotional, and in an alarmingly small degree 
ethical. Perhaps enough has been said to in- 
dicate the bearing of superstition upon religion. 
The negro has a tropical imagination which 
revels in the strange, mysterious or supernatural, 
and this type of mind, touched with a deep emo- 
tionalism and augmented by ignorance, may easily 
give rise to the most grotesque types of religious 
belief. 

Emotional Element 

The emotionalism of the negro religion — I 
mean the religion of the great masses who are 
ignorant — is well known to every Southern man. 
I have visited negro churches where the sermon 
could scarcely be called more than a wild chant 
or incantation. The high shrieking voice of the 
preacher as he calls over and over again the 
refrain of his text in dull monotony — is inter- 
rupted continually by the heavy groans and occa- 
sionally by the weird cry of a happy "mourner.'' 
Professor DuBois describes his first negro 
camp meeting as follows: "A sort of sup- 
pressed terror hung in the air, and seemed to 
seize us — a pythian madness, a demoniac pos- 
session, that lent terrible reality to song and 
words. The black and massive form of the 



128 NEGRO LIFE IN" THE SOUTH 

preacher swayed and quivered as the words 
crowded to his lips and flew at us in singular 
eloquence. The people moaned and fluttered, and 
then the gaunt-cheeked brown woman beside me 
suddenly leaped straight into the air and shrieked 
like a lost soul, while round about came wail 
and groan and outcry and a scene of human pas- 
sion such as I had never before conceived." ^ 

Mr. L. C. Perry, in a sociological study of the 
negro, printed in the Vanderbilt University 
Quarterly, April, 1904, gives the following ac- 
count of a service in one of the cruder churches 
of Nashville: "A very warm evening. Every 
seat in the house packed and most of the stand- 
ing room occupied. Two stoves nearly red hot 
and the door kept tightly shut. Text: 'And the 
Lord spoke to Daniel in the valley of dry bones, 
saying. Rise ye up and meet me.' The sermon 
began something like this: 'Brethren and sis- 
ters, I started out early one morning, a long time 
ago, and knew not witherward I was going for the 
Lord was leading of me in ways unbeknownst to 
me, henceward I'went on and on till finally when 
the day got hot I came down into the valley of 
Jehosaphat. And as I went down the slippery 
walls of that slimy valley my weary feet slided 
over rottening bones of many hell-parched sin- 
ners. I fell not, though the valley was full of 
pits and horrible falls; I fell not, for a band of 
holy angels were rustling their wings around 
me to bear me upward and onward to meet my 
God, and they bore me on and I came to my 
Lord, and he was ' Here followed a descrip- 

* "Souls of Black Folk," p. 190. 



THE RKLIGIOUS LIFE OF THE NEGRO 1 29 

tion of his meeting the Lord; but what he said 
could not be understood, for his voice was 
drowned by the shouts of twenty-five or more 
people. 'Then my Lord told me to come here 
to Nashville, to Kayne Avenue, and preach to 
his chosen lambs for to rise up and meet their 

God ' Then much more shouting, which, in 

fact, never entirely died out at any time, and only 
at intervals allowed the speaker to be heard. The 
harangue lasted in this strain for an hour and 
a half without touching the ground." 

Negro Prayers 

"The prayers are often more offensive than the 
sermon. Bass Street Church, first Sunday even- 
ing in May. A very small house, only forty- 
five present, and six of them preachers. The 
pastor called on one of the young preachers to 
pray. He prayed eleven minutes, and, after the 
first few sentences, fell into a perfectly uniform 
mode of expression and montonous chant. His 
sentences were all alike, with the exception of 
only one clause in each. "O! Lord, my God, 
wilt thou be so good and so kind and so merciful 
as to condescend as to bless us ? O ! Lord, my 
God, wilt thou be so good and so kind and so 
merciful as to condescend as to bless our little 
children?" And on and on with the use of this 
same expression till a blessing had been invoked 
on everything imaginable, from the stars in 
heaven even to the pavements of the streets, 
while at the same time another preacher was 
keeping up a symmetrical chant of response : 
"O ! yes. Lord grant it ; O ! do Lord, amen and 



130 NEGRO LIFE IX THE SOUTH 

amen. O ! yes. Lord grant it ; O ! do Lord, amen 
and amen." And a layman, presumably so from 
his position out in the congregation, also kept a 
chant going; but he uttered no word that could 
be distinguished, though at certain evenly meas- 
ured intervals his voice rose very high. And 
then, besides all of this, there was another man 
whose action is hard to describe or name. He was 
perfectly quiet except at well-measured points 
in the prayer, about twenty seconds apart, when 
he raised a hideous, indescribable snort, more 
like the sound of an animal than a human being. 
The effect of all this was weird, and one often 
had to pull himself together to realize that he 
was still in Nashville and had not been suddenly 
transported to Africa." 

Lack of Ethical Content 

Naturally, a superstitious and emotional re- 
ligion does not do much to affect the standard of 
morals. It is not simply a discrepancy between 
creed and practice, as Kelly Miller puts it, for 
that is found often among whites, but, with the 
mass of the negroes, religion is lacking both 
in ethical creed and ethical practice. Religion 
is a thing to die by and not to live by. It 
has reference to states of ecstacy but little to 
do with a man's state of morals. A negro man 
of much more than average sense — one whom I 
have known for years and have never known him 
to be dishonest or untruthful — said to me about 
his preacher lately : "He's a purty good lecturer, 
but he can't preach much." When I questioned 
him I found he meant that his preacher was good 



THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF THE NEGRO I3I 

at making appeals for honesty, purity, sobriety, 
etc., but he did not use much "gravy" as they 
call the sing-song chant and hysterical oratory. 
A teacher in a negro college told me once that 
many of their graduates went out with the idea 
of preaching a real gospel of moral life, but the 
pressure from the congregations they served 
was so great that they frequently had to 
abandon their gospel and more and more fall 
into the habit of putting on the "rousements." 

Rev. W. H. Hollo way's Testimony 

Rev, W. H. Holloway, a graduate of Talladega 
College, a Congregational minister in charge of 
a colored church in Thomas County, Ga,, in a 
study of the negro church in that county, writes 
as follows : 

"The supreme element in the old system was 
emotionalism, and while we hate to confess it 
truth demands that we affirm it as the predom- 
inating element to-day. The church which does 
not have its shouting, the church which does 
not measure the abilities of a preacher by the 
'rousement' of his sermons, and, indeed, which 
does not tacitly demand of its minister the shout- 
producing discourse, is an exception to the rule. 
This is true of the towns as well as the country. 
Of course, we all understand that it has always 
occupied first place in the worship of the negro 
church; it is a heritage of the past. In the ab- 
sence of clearly defined doctrines, the great shout, 
accompanied with weird cries and shrieks and 
contortions and followed by a multivaried 'ex- 
perience' which takes the candidate through the 



132 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

most heart-rending scenes — this to-day in Thomas 
County is accepted by the majority of the churches 
as unmistakable evidence of regeneration." 

I spoke some time since at a negro university 
on sins of men and after the address the negro 
physician, himself a Christian man, told me that 
ninety-eight per cent, was too low an estimate 
for the negro men who live or have lived impure 
lives, and yet forty-eight per cent, of them are 
church members. This divorcement of religion 
and morals is perhaps the most serious phase of 
the negro problem. 

Encouragement in Spite of this Picture 

I am well aware that I have not drawn a 
bright picture. A religion divorced from morals, 
with intense emotionalism and with crudest su- 
perstitions is not altogether a hopeful factor in 
developing a race. One does not like to write 
such a statement but one must be true to facts. 
And yet all is not hopeless. There is a brighter 
side to the picture. It is surely hopeful that 
such a large proportion of the negroes are re- 
ligious, that the religious hunger is planted deep 
in their nature. When there is a hungering and 
thirsting, there is a chance that men may be 
filled. This very fact of the religious nature of the 
negro gives the surest indication that he can be 
helped, that he can be moralized, that he can be 
made into a true citizen. We only need to help 
him purify his ideas of religion, and that is never 
so difficult a task as to create a capacity for re- 
ligious truth. 

A Progressive Minority 
There is a second sign of hope in the fact that 



THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF THE NEGRO I33 

there is a growing minority of the race with a 
religion of moral content. I heard a sermon by 
a negro preacher recently on the text : "I am the 
way, the truth and the life." It was clear, logical 
and full of practical suggestion. It is sheer 
pessimism, if not ignorant prejudice, or perhaps 
it is both, to say that religion with all negroes is 
divorced from morality. I know negroes — even 
uneducated negroes — whose religion means hon- 
esty, truthfulness, and purity. I know negroes 
of culture with whom religion has as much of 
content as it has for the cultured white man. 
This is the foundation for a real hope. If a 
minority has moved up into a realm of genuine 
religion, then the mass, with sufficient cultivation 
and care, may be brought into the same realm. 
If any considerable minority is capable of know- 
ing and .practicing genuine religious truth, there 
is possibility of redeeming the whole race from 
its ignorance, its superstition and its immoral- 
ity. If anyone doubts that there is such a minor- 
ity the one way to convince himself is to visit 
some of the best negro churches and see for 
himself. Let him come to know some of the 
best negroes and watch their conduct and even 
the most skeptical will be convinced. 

These two pictures put on every man who 
reads an obligation. If there is a minority with 
a real religion of moral and spiritual content, 
and if there is a great mass with a religion of 
low moral and low spiritual content, then it is 
our duty as enlightened Christian men to give 
to this second class a vital Gospel. ^ 

^Cf. Chapter I. 



134 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

The Missionary Appeal 

The greatest appeal that a missionary from the 
heart of Africa, or of China, or of India, can 
make is this : "The people are in ignorance, they 
are in sin, their religions are full of errors, they 
do not know our God — we have a real gospel of 
life and we must take it to them, for they are 
capable of receiving and are glad to hear." This 
is precisely the appeal that can be made on be- 
half of the lower half of the negroes at our very 
doors. It is splendid to have a missionary spirit, 
but God knows no home or foreign lands — he 
simply knows that a black man in America may 
be as needy as a black man in Africa and His 
Gospel will help both alike. 

The Negro Church 

The embodied expression of religion is the 
Church and no discussion of negro religion would 
be complete without some word about church 
life. In the early days of slavery in America 
there was great question as to whether slaves 
should be allowed to receive baptism or to join 
the church, lest such action might make them 
free. It always seemed somewhat incongruous 
for a man who was a Christian and a church 
member to be a slave. However, Virginia, in 
1667, passed a law that "Baptism doth not alter 
the condition of the person as to his bondage or 
freedom, in order that divers masters freed from 
this doubt may more carefully endeavor the 
propagation of Christianity." ^ North Carolina 
passed a similar law in 1670 and so the propaga- 
tion of Christianity among slaves went on, 

J "The Negro Church," p. 8, 



THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF THE NEGRO I35 

The Church in Slave Days 

Most of the converiea slaves belonged to the 
white churches since it was feared that separate 
churches would give too great opportunity for 
the stirring up of discontent and strife. Indeed, 
a number of the States went so far as to make it 
a finable offense for any master to allow his 
slaves to build or worship in a separate church. 
However, the records show that "various mas- 
ters had their own ministers whom they paid to 
instruct their slaves in religious matters." 

Early Work. Moravians 

The Moravians early began a missionary work 
among the negroes. As early as 1735 mission- 
aries were sent into South Carolina and Georgia 
to preach the gospel. Work was also undertaken 
among the negroes of Philadelphia. 

Presbyterians 

The Presbyterians, under the leadership of 
Rev. Samuel Davis, began work in Virginia be- 
fore the middle of the eighteenth century. In 
1755 Dr. Davis writes: "A considerable number 
of them had been baptized, after a proper time 
for instruction, having given creditable evidence 
not only of their acquaintance with the important 
doctrines of the Christian religion, but also a 
deep sense of them in their minds, attested by a 
life of strict piety and holiness."^ 

Methodists 

In 1776 the Methodists began work in Vir- 
ginia and in the great revivals that followed 
*"The Negro Church," p, 17, 



136 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

many negroes, along with the whites, were con- 
verted. The minutes of the Methodist Confer- 
ence for 1786 show a membership of 18,791 
whites and 1890 colored. In 1791, there were 
12,884 colored members reported; in 1792, there 
were 13,871 ; in 1793, there were 16,227 > iii I794> 
there were 13,814; in 1795, 12,179. The decrease 
in numbers is probably due to the great revivals 
in the Baptist Church during the last two years 
mentioned, and the preaching of colored ministers 
which drew many members from other churches 
into the Baptist fold. According to the order 
of the conference of 1790 the Bishops, elders 
and preachers were to appoint leaders for schools 
to be taught on Sundays from 6 :oo to 10 :oo A.M. 
and from 2:00 to 6:00 P.M., in which all colored 
children who desired might be taught to read 
the Bible. 

Baptists 

Between 1785 and 1792 during the great Bap- 
tist revivals many negroes were converted and 
brought into the Baptist Church. In 1792 the 
first colored Baptist church was built in the city 
of Charleston, the city contributing the lot. This 
denomination had had negro preachers for twenty 
years prior to this time. 

Awakening of 1830 

About 1830 there was a great revival of in- 
terest among all the churches of the South in 
the evangelization of the slaves. "A reaction 
set in about 1835, and the Methodists and Bap- 
tists especially were active among the slaves. 



THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF THE NEGRO 1 37 

A minister in Mississippi testified that he had 
charge of the negroes of five plantations and 
three hundred slaves ; another in Georgia visited 
eighteen plantations every two weeks. 'Two 
owners have built three good churches at their 
own expense, all framed, 290 members have been 
added, and about 400 children are instructed.' 
Another travehng minister declared, in 1841, 
that in many places like Baltimore, Alexandria, 
and Charleston, the negroes had large spacious 
churches, and he thinks there were 500,000 negro 
church members at the time." ^ Whether this is 
an overestimation or not we cannot determine, 
but it indicates that the Southern churches and 
the owners of slaves were far from unmindful of 
their duty to look after the moral life of the 
slaves. 

In i860, according to Bishop McTyiere, the 
number of slaves that were members of the 
Southern conferences of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church were 207,000. This church alone through 
its conference in the Southern States contrib- 
uted between the years of 1844 and i860, inclu- 
sive, $1,320,778.03 for the evangelization of the 
slaves. In the year 1861 this church alone had 
327 missionaries among the negroes and spent 
$86,359.20. ' 

Organization of Separate Negro Churches 

The African Methodist Episcopal Church was 
organized in 1816 at Baltimore by the withdrawal 
of a number of negro members from the Metho- 

I'The Negro Church," p. 28. 

""Gospel Among the Slaves." p. 318. Harrison & 
Barnes. 



138 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

dist Episcopal Church. Rev. Richard Allen was 
elected their first Bishop by this organizing con- 
ference. This church has now about half a mil- 
lion members and nearly three thousand organ- 
ized churches. 

Another branch from the Methodist Episcopal 
Church is the African Methodist Episcopal Zion 
organized in 181 1. It now has nearly four hun- 
dred thousand adherents. 

The Colored Methodist Episcopal is a branch 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church South and 
was organized in 1870. It now has a member- 
ship approximating one hundred and fifty thou- 
sand. 

The Cumberland Presbyterian Church (col- 
ored) was organized in 1869, at Murfreesboro, 
Tennessee. It has fifteen thousand members and 
property valued at two hundred thousand dol- 
lars ($200,000). 

Regular Baptists (colored) constitute the 
largest single communion of negroes. The first 
Colored Baptist Convention was organized in 
North Carolina, 1866. They now have a million 
and a half members and property valued at ten 
millions of dollars. 

Summary of Negro Churches 

The census of 1890 gives the total number of 
members or communicants as 2,673,977 and the 
total property valuation at $26,626,448. It seems 
likely that the 1910 census will give a total mem- 
bership of between four and four and a half mil- 
lions. Mr. John Wesley Gilbert, of the Colored 
Methodist Episcopal Church, estimates that prop- 



THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF THE NEGRO 1 39 

erty valuation now aggregates forty millions of 
dollars. Here is a powerful organization. What 
is its strength and what are its weaknesses ? 

Inclusive Character of Negro Church Its First 
Source of Strength 

The first element of the strength of the Negro 
Church lies in its all-inclusive character. It is 
not simply the place for worship, it is also the so- 
cial center of the race, the place of amusement and 
to an extent the place for gathering information. 
The negro church has been called the first dis- 
tinctively negro American social institution. Dur- 
ing slave days the home was not a place of much 
social power. While there were many masters 
who did what they could to give their slaves 
something of home life, the conditions were such 
and the past history of the slave was such that 
little could be effected. It easily came about, 
therefore, that the church stood for whatever of 
social ideals the negro had. After the war, the 
home life of the negro improved very slowly and 
even to this day there is really no home life for 
great masses of negroes. The church, therefore, 
still holds its sway as a powerful social factor. 

The Church and Amusement 

Likewise the church is the center of amuse- 
ment. In few cities do the negroes have any 
theaters, amusement halls, etc. Hence the 
church has had to step in and become the center 
of amusement. Here the debating club holds 
sway; here in later days the moving picture is 
seen. The fact that the church is the center of 



I40 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

amusements has put a severe ban on many forms 
of pleasure. There is practically no outdoor 
amusement for the negro, save peeping over the 
fence to see a white ball game, or in the country 
or small town district having a country "break 
down." The fact that the negro church has 
been the center both of the social life and of the 
pleasure life of the negro has given to it a very 
firm hold on the negro race. 

Material Equipment 

A second fact of real importance is the ma- 
terial equipment of the negro church. While 
many of the buildings are poor and uninviting, 
it must be acknowledged that the race has done 
splendidly to erect buildings aggregating in cost 
$40,000,000. This is no small asset for the power 
of the church. 

Breadth of Influence 

Another strength of the church lies in the fact 
that it reaches almost the whole community in- 
stead of just a fraction of the community as is 
the case of the white church. It is estimated that 
forty-eight per cent, of the negroes are church 
members and many more are adherents and regu- 
lar attendants. However poor the gospel that 
is preached, there is power for good in the fact 
that the vast majority of the race has respect for 
the church and attend its services. 

Educated Ministers 

Possibly the most important asset of the negro 
church lies in its increasing number of educated 



THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF THE XEGRO I4I 

ministers. On the darker side of the question we 
must say a word later, but it is only fair to say 
here that the standard is certainly rising. In the 
cities where the problems are more difficult there 
is an increasing number of pastors that are col- 
lege and seminary graduates. In such churches 
the service is orderly, the sermons are wholesome, 
logical and practical. This is perhaps the most 
encouraging sign of the whole negro problem 
to-day. 

Uneducated Ministry a Weakness 

With all of these elements of strength there 
are also not a few weaknesses in the negro 
church. The first of these is the other side of 
our last sentence — the low average intelligence 
and morality of the negro ministry. Here, lest 
we shall be unfair in our judgment,. let a negro 
minister speak: 

Dougherty County, Georgia 

"We have been able to learn of about 120 
preachers in the county. Of this number fully 
seventy-five are either ordained or licensed. The 
most of their names appear in the minutes of 
the various denominations. Now this number 
may be almost doubled if we search for all those 
who call themselves preachers and fill the func- 
tion of interpreters of the Word of God. This 
number moulds as great a sentiment for or 
against the church as those who hold license." 

"You will get some idea of the vast host who 
belong to this class when I tell you that the 
records of the last conference of the Southwest 



142 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

Georgia District of the African Methodist Epis- 
copal Church show ^that there were forty-three 
apphcants for admission to the conference. Note 
that this is only one of the four or five confer- 
ences of this church in the State. Be it said, to 
the lasting credit of the conference, that it in un- 
mistakable terms put the stamp of condemna- 
tion upon the presumption of about thirty-five of 
them and sent them back to their homes dis- 
appointed men. And yet, while it sent them back 
home unadmitted, it did not make them less de- 
termined to preach, for in their several communi- 
ties you will find them still exercising themselves 
in the holy calling." ^ 

Character of Ministers 

In an investigation made by Atlanta Uni- 
versity concerning the character of the negro 
ministry, two hundred negro laymen were asked 
their opinion of the moral character of negro 
preachers. It is remarkable that only thirty- 
seven gave decided answers of approval. All 
the others made some qualifications. Among 
faults mentioned by these negro laymen were 
selfishness, deceptiveness, love for money, sex- 
ual impurity, dogmatism, laziness, ignorance, etc. 
It cannot be doubted that these adjectives carry 
all too large a truth. In this connection also may 
be mentioned again the type of preaching done 
by many of these ministers. It is highly emo- 
tional and lacking in any practical moral mes- 
sage. 

^Rev. W. H. Holloway. Study of Thomas County, 
Ga. "The Negro Church," p. 6i. 



THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF THE NEGRO I43 

Church Splits 

Another weakness of the church lies in its 
spirit of rivalry and dissensions. None of the 
churches seem so far to have devised a system of 
government that will cement its members into 
strong, compact organizations. In most cases 
organization counts for little, personal prejudice 
counts for much. If debate arises in the church 
over the ability of a preacher, one wing will pull 
off and establish a new church. Hence it arises 
that many of the negro churches are family 
churches, being the relatives and friends of some 
dissenting pastor who organized the new church. 
Rev. W. H. Holloway declares that of the ninety- 
eight churches in Thomas County, Georgia, about 
half of them originated out of a church split. "I 
know of no rural churches in Thomas County 
whose inception had the careful nursing of an 
educated, cultured leader. The largest churches 
and the biggest preachers in Thomas County do 
little home missionary work and organize no new 
churches." ^ This means that there are twice 
as many church organizations as there should be, 
there are too many church buildings, that con- 
gregations are too small, and hence salaries paid 
to ministers cannot be large enough to secure 
competent men. 

In going over the list of fifty-four churches 
in the City of Atlanta, I find seventeen churches 
with less than one hundred members, the aver- 
age membership of these seventeen being thirty. 
Only eight of the fifty-four had more than two 
hundred, and only four had more than three hun- 

* "The Negro Church," p. 57- 



144 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

dred members. Eleven of these Atlanta churches 
are the outgrowth of church splits 

In the City of Nashville there are fifty-two 
negro churches, the average membership of 
which is two hundred and seven, while the aver- 
age in the white churches is nearly twice as 
great, three hundred and ninety. There are 
seventeen negro churches in Nashville with less 
than one hundred members each. This condition 
at once accounts for poor church buildings and 
the low grade of ministers. 

Loose Business Metliods 

Lack of business methods is another weakness 
of the negro church. In this the negro church 
has no monopoly, as, indeed, it has not in any of 
the other weaknesses mentioned. All of these 
weaknesses are simply more marked in the negro 
than in the white church. Of one hundred and 
sixty-five negro laymen asked concerning the 
progress of the negro church, thirty-five an- 
swered decidedly that its financial management 
was very bad. Again, let a negro minister speak 
for us on this question: 

"Another condition which gives rise to our 
assertion that the church is not exercising its 
highest moral influence, is seen in its lax business 
methods. Let us give one example, which we 
dare assert is true of nine-tenths of the churches 
in Thomas County, and in the South : A contract 
is made with every incoming minister. They 
promise him a stipulated sum for his year's serv- 
ice, and when the year ends he goes to confer- 
ence with only about two-thirds of the pledge 



THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF THE NEGRO I45 

'fulfilled. If he is sent back to the same field, 
the second year finds the church still deeper on 
the debit side of the ledger. If he is sent to an- 
other field the debt is considered settled, a new 
contract is made with the new preacher, and the 
same form is gone through."^ 

Danger of Losing Its Aim 

Lastly, we must mention the fact that the non- 
essentials of the church are in danger of absorb- 
ing its whole life to the exclusion of its real 
functions of religious teaching. The numerous 
church socials, the multitudinous societies, the 
prominence given to certain rites and cere- 
monies, fill the life of the average church mem- 
ber to a dangerous extent. The church is pri- 
marily a place for worship, for religious in- 
struction, and for religious fellowship and serv- 
ice. When it loses its distinctively religious 
character it is in danger of losing its power. 

The Appeal of Facts 

Here, then, is a problem of no small concern 
to every Southern man. We live in a section 
of the country where eight million colored people 
live. Whatever affects the lives of these people 
affects our lives. The colored man is a decidedly 
religious being, but if his reHgion is nqt worthy 
it will degrade rather than elevate him. The 
church which fosters his religion is torn with in- 
ternal dissensions which weaken its power and 
dissipate its energies; its ministers are all too 
frequently ignorant, lazy and immoral; its gos- 

'"The Negro Church," p. 60. 



14^ NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

pel is in many cases an emotional hysteria, with 
little reference to morals; and the majority of 
white men are either ignorant or indifferent to 
these facts. Shall we, as southern college men, 
not be statesmen-like enough to see the im- 
portance of this present situation, and lend our 
help in meeting the present needs? And the 
conditions are by no means hopeless. The negiD 
is teachable, he is deeply religious, he looks to 
the white man for counsel, he will welcome aid 
from any college man — and, what is best of all, 
he is making substantial progress in higher re- 
ligious idealgj 



VI 

WHAT CAN WE DO? 



RIGHT'S SECURITY 

What if the wind do howl without. 
And turn the creaking weather-vane; 
What if the arrows of the rain 
Do beat against the window-pane? 
Art thou not armored strong and fast 
Against the sallies of the blast? 
Art thou not sheltered safe and well 
Against the flood's insistent swell? 

What boots i% that thou stand'st alone, 
And laughest in the battle's face 
When all the weak have fled the place 
And let their feet and fears keep pace? 
Thou wavest still thine ensign high. 
And shouted thy loud battle-cry; 
Higher than e'er the tempest roared, 
It cleaves the silence like a sword. 

Right arms and armors, too, that man 

Who will not compromise with wrong; 

Though single, he must front the throng, 

And wage the battle hard and long. 

Minorities, since time began, 

Have shown the better side of man; 

And often in the lists of time 

One man has made a cause sublirae! 

— Paul Laurence Dunbar. 



VI 

WHAT CAN WE DO? 

Present Social Awakening 

Ours may be characterized as a sociological 
age. Men are thinking to-day in terms of so- 
cial life. It would be safe to say that more books 
dealing with social questions have come from 
the press within the last twenty-five years than 
in all the previous centuries of the world's history. 
There is a widespread awakening to the facts 
of all humanity and a consequent interest in 
them. One would scarcely dare to say that this 
is a wholly modern movement, for it has its roots 
deep in the soil of the past, but its flower can 
hardly be said to have burst into bloom until this 
present generation. 

World Unity 

At least three elements — each of which have 
had much accentuation during the last decade — 
have entered into this growing social conscious- 
ness. First of these may be mentioned the prin- 
ciple of a spiritual monism. Slowly, but surely, 
philosophy has been moving away from the vari- 
ous forms of dualism, until it now proclaims a 
unifying element in the universe, into which all 
forces and all beings are caught up and knit into 
one complete whole. Behind the forces of 
149 



150 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

nature there is a supreme force; behind the 
lives of the universe, there is a supreme life; 
and these blend into a complete and perfect per- 
sonality, whom Christians call God. Such seems 
to be the decided tendency of science and 
philosophy. 

Sacredness of the Individual 

The second element is but a corollary of the 
first — the growing sacredness of the individual. 
If all life is unified in one supreme life, each in- 
dividual is enhanced in value because it is a part 
of the all inclusive and the universal. It par- 
takes of the divine nature, and is to be judged 
not by what it possesses, but by what it is and 
by that to which it is related. This thought is as 
old as the book of Job, for there the writer says : 
If I have despised the cause of my man-servant 
or of my maid-servant, when they contended 
with me; what then shall I do when God riseth 
up? And when he visiteth, what shall I answer 
him? Did not he that made me in the womb 
make him? And did not one fashion us in the 
womb? Job 31:13-15. This was the supreme 
teaching of Jesus Christ — out of which grew 
His universal sympathy — but, strange to say, 
the Christian Church is just coming to realize 
the tremendous meaning of this conception. 

Social Responsibility 

Growing out of these two is the third element 
of modern social ideals, namely, the sense of re- 
sponsibility which one man feels for the well- 
being of all other men. If there is one supreme 



WHAT CAN WE DO? I5I 

person — a Father God; if each individual is 
caught up into that Godhood and so becomes 
sacred; then, each man is brother to his neigh- 
bor, just because they are both ahke sons of God 
— and every true brother must be interested in, 
and, so far as his power extends, responsible 
for, the welfare of every other brother in this 
universal household. Such, it seems to me, is 
the real meaning of this new social awakening. 

Loyalty to Social Ideals 

If, then, this is the highest development of 
human thought — if our philosophy, our science, 
and our religion have led us to this — that each 
individual is sacred and we have an obligation to 
him because of what he is — then, we, who de- 
sire to be loyal to the highest, must let this 
highest find expression in our attitude, in our 
words, and in our deeds; for, as Dr. Royce has 
said, "Loyalty, as you see, is essentially an active 
virtue. It involves manifold sentiments — love 
good-will, earnestness, delight in the cause, but 
it is complete only in the motor terms, never in 
merely sentimental terms. It is useless to call 
my feelings loyal unless my muscles somehow 
express my loyalty."^ The enunciation of a 
social principle has far-reaching meaning for 
our present discussion, for if a man is sacred 
just because he is a human individual, we will 
need to realize anew that the negro has a claim 
on our sympathy and help. President King, in 
his latest volume, has well put it: "We can 

^"Race Questions and Other American Problems," 
P- 239. 



152 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

hardly claim, indeed, to have risen to the level of 
even the common consciousness of our time, if 
we are not ready to recognize the ideals of 
others, though expressed in quite unconventional 
forms. The willingness to see and to cherish 
ideals, and the heroism persistently to live or 
unhesitatingly to die for them, let us be sure, is 
not confined to our clique or to our race. Have 
we really open eyes for the hidden ideals in the 
lives that seem to us unlike our own — laborer, 
capitalist, negro, white, educated, uneducated, 
quick or slow ? It is not a true interpretation of 
Christian law of love which insists upon either 
racial or class barriers to the setting aside of 
the far more fundamental likeness of men. We 
owe reverence and faith and love not merely to 
those whom we call our own, but to all — in the 
significant words of Jesus, 'despairing of no 
man' (Luke, 6:35, margin). And we shall have 
no final peace, either as individuals or as a 
nation, until we recognize in its entirety this 
primal law of Jesus." ^ 

The Real Question 

Now, the real point of the race question is 
not shall we have social intermingling — hut shall 
we recognise that the other man has a soul, is a 
real human personality — in spite of the fact that 
he often lives on a back alley, wears poor clothes, 
uses a broken language, and has a black skin. 
I have sometimes felt that we really do not be- 
lieve the negro is possessed of human person- 
alitv. 



'Ethics of Jesus," p. 246. 



WHAT CAN WE DO? 153 

This fact came to me with intensity some 
years ago as I was riding on a Pullman car 
through Alabama. We stopped rather long at 
some small station, and I noted, without asking 
the cause, that a very large crowd of colored 
people were gathered on the station platform. 
After the train had started again, a traveling 
man, who had gone out to see what was wrong-, 
returned to the car, and was asked by his com- 
panion the cause of the delay. "Oh, nothing," 
replied the drummer, "one 'nigger' shot an- 
other, and they were loading the wounded one 
on to carry him to the nearest town with a hos- 
pital." Then and there it dawned upon me 
that we really did not appreciate the sacredness 
of humanity, provided that humanity be clothed 
in a dark skin. 

Professor DuBois describes in beautiful and 
heart-searching English the death of his own 
baby boy. He tells how dark the day seemed to 
him as the carriages rolled along through the 
crowded streets of Atlanta behind the hearse, 
which carried the lifeless form of the child, as 
dear to him as life. As the crowd parted for a 
moment to let the procession pass, some one in- 
quired who it was that had died. Professor 
DuBois heard the reply as it broke in upon his 
saddened heart — "J^^t 'niggers.' " Do you won- 
der that he is sometimes bitter? 

One. would be disposed to charge him with over- 
emphasizing the indifference of white men if we 
had not lived all our lives in the midst of these 
conditions and had not heard such expressions 
hundreds of times. These, of course, are the 



154 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

expressions of the coarser element of white men, 
and yet they indicate a tendency to forget that 
a subject race is not a dehumanized race. It 
should be said also that this attitude toward a 
weaker race is not seen alone in the South. I 
have seen things in Northern cities, and heard 
words to and about foreigners which made my 
blood boil. When I was making a tour of the 
Pacific Coast colleges, I saw treatment of Jap- 
anese which I could scarcely keep from resent- 
ing with physical violence — but I reflected that 
this was only parallel to the attitude of the 
coarser element of my own section toward a 
backward race. 

Attitude Toward Dependent Races 

Mr. Milligan, in his charming book, "The 
Jungle Folk of Africa," tells us the story of the 
treatment of the Kruboys, who load and unload 
the ships on the West Coast. This work is ex- 
ceedingly dangerous, on account of poor harbors 
and heavy surf, and none with less endurance, 
skill and bravery than these Africans would dare 
undertake the task. 

One day the sea was so very dangerous, "the 
boys presented themselves in a body before one 
of the officers and said: 'Mastah, them sea be 
bad too much. We no be fit for land cargo. 
S'pose we try, we go loss all cargo, and plenty 
man's life. So please excuse to-day, Mastah, 
for we think to-morrow go be fine.' 

"The answer they received was a volley of 
profanity and curses. 'Just because one of them 
was killed they all turn cowards,' said one. 'Al- 



WHAT CAN WE DO? I55 

ways thinking of themselves,' said another. With 
many such shrewd observations and sundry 
moral exhortations to bravery, the boats were 
lowered and they were ordered into them." 

"One day our boys went ashore early in the 
morning, leaving the ship at half-past five. They 
were expecting to make the trip before break- 
fast, as usual, and therefore had nothing to 
eat before starting. They had landed the cargo 
safely at the trading-house; but the sea was so 
bad that they could not get off to the ship all 
that day. They made several unsuccessful at- 
tempts, and it was almost night before they suc- 
ceeded. Meanwhile, the swell was so heavy that 
we had steamed far out for safety, and were 
anchored seven miles from the shore. The boys 
reached the ship after dark, and we then learned 
that the white trader ashore had given them 
nothing to eat, although the ship would have 
repaid him. Those boys had battled with the 
sea and with hunger, not having had a taste of 
food all that day." 

"Only a short time afterwards, one evening 
at the table, an officer who had been ashore told 
us a story that was intended to prove the cruelty 
of the native. A white trader, he said, had 
caught a young elephant. He went away on a 
journey to the bush, leaving the care of it to his 
native workmen. Upon his return, after several 
months, he found the elephant in very poor 
health, and a few weeks later it died. There 
was no doubt that the natives had neglected to 
feed it in his absence, and this was the cause of 
its death. Horrible cruelty of the beastly native ! 



156 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

Pungent remarks, appropriate to the occasion, 
were contributed all around the table. For my- 
self, I was thinking of those starved and tired 
boys battling with a raging sea. But I said not 
a word. What would be the use?" 

So ever it is that a weak and dependent race is 
badly used by those that are greedy and unscru- 
pulous. One cannot refrain from calling atten- 
tion to Christ's parable in Matt. 25 :34-46 : "Inas- 
much as ye did it not unto one of these least, ye 
did it not unto me." The application of these 
words to the problem in hand cannot by any pos- 
sibility be escaped, by the man of open mind. 

Test of White Civilization 

We have heard much discussion of whether 
the negro would be able to stand the test of con- 
tact with a more advanced civilization. In my 
opinion this is not at all the real question. The 
question at issue is, will the white man, with his 
superior training, greater advancement, and 
larger opportunities, be able to stand the test of 
contact zvith a less fortunate race? Every race, 
as well as every individual, must be finally 
judged by its attitude toward, and its treatment 
of, those who are not able to protect themselves. 
The father that despises one, of his children be- 
cause it is weaker physically or mentally, is 
branded as a savage. The boy that "picks on" 
another under his size is promptly denominated 
a bully and a coward. Not less will the race 
that deals unfairly with ? weaker and more in- 
fantile race be judged of God to be unworthy 
of its heritage. "The responsibility of a privi- 



WHAT CAN WE DO? I57 

leg-ed people" is the key thought of one of the 
world's greatest prophetic utterances. "You 
only have I known of all the families of the 
earth," said Amos to the highly favored Israel- 
ites, "Therefore I will visit upon you all your 
iniquities." 

A National Question 

The supreme race questions of this nation are 
not whether the Chinese and Japanese on the 
Pacific Coast will be able to meet the demands 
of a more exacting civilization ; not whether the 
European immigrant of the East is the equal of 
the native American ; not whether the negro of 
the South can ever measure up to the standard 
of achievement of his white neighbor — but 
whether in all these varying situations ive Amer- 
icans, with our boasted culture, larger wealth, 
and splendid opportunities, zvill be able so to 
deal zvith these weaker peoples as to prove to 
God and to the world that we are a race of su- 
perior advancement. Our culture and our civil- 
ization are not given us for selfish use. We are 
simply the custodians of these rich blessings. 
Just as the new social consciousness demands 
that a man of accumulated millions shall use it 
for the good of humanity — so the social sense of 
the world at large will sooner or later demand 
that we shall use our culture and our civilization 
to elevate those less fortunate than ourselves. 

Fair Mindedness Toward the Negro 

Thus, we have revealed the first great service 
that we can render to the negro race. We must 



158 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

change public opinion. We must see to it that 
he is no longer thought of simply as a brute, but 
as a human being. Here there needs to be dis- 
crimination — and the crowd rarely ever discrim- 
inates. Because one negro, or a dozen, or two 
score, or several thousand may be brutish and 
commit brutal crimes/ it is neither fair-minded 
nor just to accuse the whole race as being with- 
out souls. There are many brutal white men. 
Many of them are as low in sin and shame as 
human thought can imagine, and yet we assert 
the essential dignity and sacredness of the in- 
dividual. If we are to be fair to the negro, we 
must recognize that there are various stratas 
within that race, and that many of them are 
working hard to acquire culture and character. 
We shall give the race a great impetus when we 
help the world to recognize that they must have 
a fair chance — that they must be treated as 
human personalities. 

Obligation to Know the Negro 

Another aim we need to set for ourselves is 
a more thorough knowledge of the negro's con- 
dition. Our attention was called, in the first 
chapter, to the ignorance of our white people 
concerning negro life. It should be the de- 
liberate purpose of every college man to know 
more about this problem. This book claims to 
do nothing but point the way. Each man must 
investigate for himself. We must go to their 
.homes just to see how they live, we must visit 
their schools to find how they think, we must 
visit their churches to know how they worship. 



WHAT CAN WE DO? 159 

To the man who is in earnest about Hfe there 
can be no more fascinating study than to find 
just how this "other half Hves." It must always 
be remembered that this can be done well only 
in the sympathetic spirit. 

Visit Schools and Churches 

But we can do much more than investigate 
conditions. There is the very greatest need for 
men that have higher ideals to lend their help 
and encouragement in the matter of education 
and religion. It would mean much to the negro 
youth if more white men visited their schools 
and made addresses that would fire the ambi- 
tion of these backward children. Character is 
made by setting ideals — and who can better do 
this than the educated white men of the South? 
In like manner, we would do well to speak in 
their churches, giving them addresses on the 
practical ethical problems. I cannot imagine a 
greater service that we could render. In par- 
ticular, addresses could be given to the men 
and boys on questions of social purity which 
might be of very great benefit. I gave such an 
address recently to a group of negro men, and 
many of them said afterwards it was the only 
address of the kind they had ever heard. If we 
are looking for some practical service, here is 
the chance, 

Negro Sunday Schools 

In this connection, one is reminded of the 
large opportunity for service through the negro 
Sunday school. There is hardly a negro church 



l6o NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTHT 

that would not welcome the services of a col- 
lege man to teach its Bible class for older people, 
or to teach a group of younger men, or a class 
of boys. In the city of Nashville, the Methodist 
Training School is sending out Bible teachers to 
a number of churches. I have visited some of 
these churches, and it was with evident pride and 
appreciation that they told me of this help. 

In other places there is need for the organiza- 
tion of Sunday schools in those sections of the 
city or country where there are no churches. 
Hampden-Sidney students have been doing this 
for a number of years. They organize small 
schools anywhere within a radius of three or 
four miles of the college, and students go out 
to teach. 

Presbyterian Colored Mission 

One of the most notable undertakings of the 
kind is that of the Presbyterian Theological Sem- 
inary in Louisville, Kentucky, Rev. John Little, 
who was one of the student founders of this 
particular Sunday school, and is now in charge 
as superintendent, gives the following account 
of its inception : "At a business meeting of the 
Students' Missionary Society of the Presbyterian 
Theological Seminary in Louisville, November, 
1897, the needs of the colored people were men- 
tioned, and the suggestion made that a Sunday 
school be organized for their instruction. Six 
students volunteered to teach in such a Sunday 
school, and plans were formulated to begin the 
work. We thought it would be an easy matter 
to secure a house, but we found landlords very 



WHAT CAN WE DO? l6l 

cautious about renting buildings for this purpose. 
Twenty-five vacant houses were inspected before 
one could be rented." 

"The house was formerly a lottery office, and 
was well known to the people of the neighbor- 
hood. This site was selected because it was in 
the midst of a densely settled negro district. 
These negroes were very poor, and day and 
night were exposed to vice. Saloons were on 
every corner; gambling places were numerous." 

"A definite site on Preston Street — a main 
thoroughfare — having been selected, the six 
teachers divided themselves into three groups, 
going two and two. Each group took a street 
and visited every house, and in the tenement 
houses every room. They gave a personal in- 
vitation to each member of the family to attend 
the services and left a printed card giving the 
name of the mission, the location, and the hours 
for services. This plan was persistently fol- 
lowed until the building was crowded." 

'Tn the homes we were well received, and in- 
vited to come again. In the majority of cases 
the family promised to attend the next Sunday, 
Tf I live, and nothing happens.' In nine cases 
out of ten 'something happened' to the parents, 
for very few of the older people came to the 
mission in the early days. In later days they 
came in larger numbers." 

The School Opened 

"The doors were opened in February, 1898 and 
23 negro pupils were enrolled. Within a month 
the attendance had grown to 40. Our room was 



1 62 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

full, and special efforts to secure a larger attend- 
ance ceased, and we tried to develop the char- 
acter of those enrolled." 

"The first session of this Sunday school re- 
vealed the great need of the people dwelling in 
this section of the city. Here we found hun- 
dreds of children, within the sound of the 
bells of white and colored churches, who never 
attended. The pupils were arranged as in an 
ordinary school. The singing was good, and 
this natural gift has been developed until the 
music is excellent. . . ."^ 

This work has grown until, in 1909, there 
were 450 regular Sunday school students; there 
were sewing classes for girls, woodwork classes 
for boys, classes in basketry, cooking, etc. What 
is fully as important, playgrounds have been ar- 
ranged where colored boys can go for an after- 
noon of clean sport. Such a work as this can be 
reproduced in any city in the South, if only 
men can be found with large enough faith and 
sufficient spirit of self-sacrifice. 

Famous Examples 

For this kind of work we have the very best 
of precedent in the work of such men as Stone- 
wall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. On one of my 
visits to Washington and Lee University, I 
walked out into the country and chanced upon 
an old man, who had been one of the negro 
boys in the Sunday school conducted by Jackson 
before the war, Jackson then being a professor 

^ For further facts, address Rev. John Little, 540 
Roselane, Louisville, Ky. 



WHAT CAN WE DO? 163 

at Virginia Military Institute, The old man 
was very proud of the fact that he sat under the 
famous General, and quoted a number of Scrip- 
ture passages to prove that he had profited by 
such instruction. With such an illustrious ex- 
ample, we can well afford to have our share in 
such a worthy work. 

Helping Colored Young Men's Christian Associa- 
tions 

Again, our colleges located in cities where 
there are also negro schools, can be of large 
service by helping to foster the Colored Branch 
of the Young Men's Christian Association 
among" these colored students. The president 
of the Young Men's Christian Association in 
the white college can meet the committees of the 
colored Association, and give ideas that will be 
invaluable. This particular suggestion comes 
to me from a negro, the president of a negro col- 
lege, and from a Christian worker among his 
students. In like manner, men can help in 
carrying on the Bible study work of the Young 
Men's Christian Association. I made a visit a 
year or two ago to Carlisle Indian School, Car- 
lisle, Pa., and while there, we enrolled four hun- 
dred Indian students in Bible study. There were 
no students in the school sufficiently prepared to 
lead these classes. We, therefore, secured lead- 
ers from Dickinson College and Dickinson Sem- 
inary to go over once each week and do this 
work. Why should not the students of the 
South, who believe that the negro student should 



164 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

know the Bible, go out to these schools to con- 
duct Association classes? 

Athletic Help, etc. 

Another place where the white students may 
serve the colored is in athletics. As a rule, the 
negro school is not able to employ coaches or to 
secure desirable officials for games. And there 
is no greater need in the negro school than a 
genuine athletic life. Those of us that have de- 
fended athletics in our own schools ofi the basis 
of their moral influence, and of their physical up- 
lift, must readily understand that the colored 
student needs this even more. At Vanderbilt 
University, Mhletic men have gone out to Fisk, 
Roger Williams, and Meharry for years to act 
as officials in such games, and wherever I have 
chanced upon one of the students of these in- 
stitutions, they have always had a most kindly 
feeling toward all Vanderbilt men. There is no 
surer way to settle the race question than in 
these small matters to indicate our interest in 
these men, and our willingness to help them. 

Boy's Clubs 

In like manner, university students can be of 
the greatest service to the boys of the negro race 
if they will organize them into clubs and give 
them a chance to have some clean and wholesome 
fun. One of the most serious difficulties in con- 
nection with the negro problem is the fact that 
there are no playgrounds, no places of amuse- 
ment for these boys. A colored boy cannot play 
ball, he cannot play tennis, he cannot go to a 



WHAT CAN WE DO? I65 

gymnasium, he cannot go swimming in the city 
— because there is no place open to him. A few 
years ago some colored men rented a small park 
in Atlanta for the sake of having ball games for 
colored boys. But some white man in the vicin- 
ity complained, and the park was closed by the 
city officials. A colored man in Atlanta told me 
that there was not a single decent place of 
amusement, so far as he knew, where negroes 
could go. No wonder we are turning out crops 
of criminals. A negro boy is just like a white 
boy — he has the play instinct. If this instinct is 
not legitimately gratified, he is either stunted by 
too constant work and no play, or else he is. de- 
moralized by no work, no play, and all loafing. 
I believe some of these conditions can be righted 
by our college men and our churches. It we will 
organize negro boys' clubs, where these boys can 
be brought together for military training, or for 
simple games, or for any type of amusement that 
is wholesome, together with such other more 
serious and helpful activities as may seem wise, 
we may bring great blessing to the whole race. 

Reform Schools Needed 

In this connection, it should be said that re- 
form schools have been established for delinquent 
white boys in most States ; but the colored boy 
who commits a petty crime is thrust right in 
with the most hardened criminals, and is soon 
turned out with criminal instincts. From the 
standpoint of economy alone, this is poor policy, 
for the boy that becomes a criminal is a constant 



1 66 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

burden on the State, when he might have been 
saved to the State for a real factor in production. 

Racial Integrity 

One cannot refrain from saying a word here 
about that other crying evil which is the plague 
of white and black alike. Much has been said 
about the horrors of an unnamable crime per- 
petrated by negro men. The negro race, as a 
whole, condemns this, and all the better classes 
^are helping in the detection and prosecution of 
the criminals. But I have had more than one 
honest and worthy negro man tell me that we 
would never put a stop to this crime until white 
men ceased their ravages of colored girls. Of 
course, it cannot be denied that many colored 
girls court the favor of white men, but the white 
man is the stronger, and should be held most re- 
sponsible. But this is only one side of the ques- 
tion. There is another and a blacker side. A 
college president recently told me of a case 
which was enough to make one's blood boil. A 
negro drayman, after giving his daughter all the 
training possible at home, sent her away to the 
Prairie View Normal, in Texas, where she grad- 
uated, having in mind teaching as a life work. 
Meanwhile, an unscrupulous, but wealthy, white 
man became attracted by her looks and followed 
her back to her small Mississippi town in the 
attempt to persuade her to return with him as 
his personal slave. The father of this girl went 
to my friend, the white college president, and 
asked him what to do. Said he: "This white 
man is hanging about trying to rob my daughter 



WHAT CAN WE DO? 167 

of her purity. If I kill him, I will be mobbed 
in an hour, and if I let him alone, I may lose the 
hope and pride of a lifetime." No wonder the 
colored man rebels at such an unjust situation. 

Negro Testimony 

At a meeting held in Atlanta, to which I have 
referred in the introduction of this book, the 
hardest charge brought against the white man 
by the negro delegates present was the fact that 
many negro girls who would withstand the ap- 
peals of negro men were helpless, and lost their 
virtue to white men who employed them or who 
might have enough money to turn their simple 
heads. 

The Blackest Crime 

There has been no small talk about social 
equality. I do not believe in social inter- 
mingling, nor do the best class of negroes. But 
where a white man uses his larger power and 
influence to force a negro girl to give up her 
purity, there is no question of social equality 
involved; the man is so infinitely below the level 
of the girl that he does not deserve to be men- 
tioned in the same breath. It is a crime as black 
as night when a man robs a white girl of her 
purity, even though she consents — but she is his 
equal in moral strength and has powers of self- 
protection. The negro girl, however, has no such 
equal chance in the struggle ; so, when a white 
man takes advantage of one who is socially down, 
who cannot protect herself, he is a fiend of the 
blackest die. There is need that college men should 



l68 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

create a sentiment of condemnation against such 
diabolical sin. If we expect the black man to 
respect our women — and he must — then we must 
force our white men to keep hands off the negro 
girl — whether she be pure or impure. There 
must not be any mingling of the races. 

Lynching 

Just here one must say a word about the 
question of lynching. It is a fact that it grows 
more prevalent in both North and South. The 
question is, can it be defended? and if not, can 
it be stopped? In the first place, what is the 
effect on the colored community of lynching? 
Does it act as a deterrent of further crime? 
Not at all. I have talked with a great many 
negro men, and, so far as a white man can, have 
got into the spirit and mode of their thought on 
this subject. Lynching only maddens and en- 
rages the lower class. They look upon the 
lynched negro as a martyr, who has laid down 
his life on the altar of a just hatred of his op- 
pressor. I am absolutely convinced that lynch- 
ing does not frighten the criminal class, and 
hence does not prevent the awful crime against 
our women. On the other hand, it has increased 
this crime, and has put the criminal in the class 
of martyrs. If we love our women and want lo 
protect them, some less spectacular method of 
punishment must be devised. 

It Degrades the White Man 

What effect does lynching have on the whole 
community? Bad, and only bad. There is 



WHAT CAN WE DO? 169 

no light to relieve the shadow here. When- 
ever men, in the name of law and justice, so far 
forget themselves as to trample every law under 
their feet, and, in their mad frenzy, even take 
the lives of honest officials who heroically stand 
out for their duty and for the law ; when, in their 
mad brutality, they burn or hang or riddle with 
bullets a wretched criminal supposed to be guilty 
of this crime — though it occasionally happens 
that he is not — just so often is the self-respect 
of the community lowered, and the sacredness 
of law is broken down. The effect is brutaliz- 
ing and demoralizing. The result of, this disre- 
gard for law is seen on every hand. It comes 
out in the night riding in Kentucky, in the Reel 
Foot Lake tragedies in Tennessee, and in numer- 
ous other ways. As we sow, so shall we reap. 
If we sow mobs, and violence, and disrespect for 
courts of justice, we shall surely reap murders, 
lawlessness and debased public opinion. This is 
a very high price to pay for the luxury of a little 
bloodthirtsy revenge. 

Does not Prevent Publicity 

But some one says that we cannot afford to 
humiliate our women by bringing them into 
public for the trial of the criminal. No, surely 
not, but the trial can be conducted with closed 
doors. Would this be more humiliating than 
what now takes place? Does not the infuriated 
mob take the criminal before the victim if she is 
alive and ask her to identify him? There is no 
privacy, no decorum, not even lack of publicity. 
Nothing could be more public, nothing could be 



170 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

more revolting to real womanhood than our 
present methods. 

Defeats Justice 

And, last of all, justice cannot be done by a 
frenzied mob. In a Republic such as ours, every 
man is supposed to have the right of a trial, the 
right to defend himself against false accusations. 
A mob never reasons, it does not weigh evidence, 
it simply acts in the madness of its fury. I quote 
a case in point: "William McArthur has been 
for many years the janitor of a white church in 
a former slave State. He owns a farm and city 
house; has a bank account, and could loan 
money more easily than most of the church mem- 
bers he serves. His reputation for character is 
as good as theirs. When, therefore, a disrep- 
utable white woman attempted to blackmail him 
by threatening to charge him with assault on a 
child, he naturally went to the church officers for 
advice. They believed in him as they did in 
each other, but put him on a midnight train for 
California. To his Northern pastor it was in- 
credible that a man of his reputation should have 
to flee like a thief. The answer was: 'This 
community is likely to lynch first and investigate 
afterwards.' So McArthur went — he could 
afford to — saying, with pathetic humor, 'I al- 
ways wanted to travel West, anyhow.' After six 
months he felt safe to come back and take up 
his work. Not long after the community did 
lynch three negroes on an Easter morning. The 
grand jury, investigating afterward, found that 
two of them were certainly innocent. Only ba\- 



WHAT CAN WE DO? I7I 

onets saved the negro quarter from burning. 
Then McArthur came to his pastor to know 
where, under the stars and stripes, a self-respect- 
ing and respected black man could buy his own 
vine and fig tree, and go and sit down under 
them in the ordinary security of Christian civil- 
ization." 

"Now McArthur's character is fixed so that 
adversity, while it seams his brow and weights 
his steps, does not make a social rebel of him ; 
but his boy, when I last saw him, was behind 
the bars." 

"Now, I charge that America did not give 
McArthur's boy a square deal. Of course, he 
is a responsible soul, with heart, will and con- 
science enough to make some impression on his 
own moral destiny. Let him bear his full share 
of the blame ; but let us weigh this : he had felt 
the helplessness of the property-owning negro 
before the blackmailer; had seen his father a 
fugitive at midnight, his life hanging upon an 
idle word; had heard just men confess their in- 
ability to protect one in whom they had all con- 
fidence; had vainly longed for a fatherland which 
could guarantee somewhere a peaceful death to 
one who had lived in honor; had smelled the 
burning flesh of innocent men of his own race. 
Besides all this, his own weakness had been 
trafficked in by a venal jiolice power. Such 
things are not calculated to make a young negro 
into a model citizen. You tell me that after all 
the cord and the torch are rare, that statistically 
one is more likely to die from falling off a step- 
ladder at home than a negro is to be lynched. I 



172 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

reply that when one has once come under the 
shadow of such a tragedy he can never forget 
it. It stamps his imagination for all time and 
sears his soul against the social order in which 
it is tolerated."^ 

Sentiment Against Lynching Needed 

It is ours to create a sentiment of justice, of 
respect for law, of reverence for the authority of 
the courts. No nation can stand where its law 
is not respected and where any chance mob 
rises up and in the name of justice breaks every 
law of the land, and tramples justice under its 
feet. 

Justice in Petty Crimes 

The negro should get justice, not only in this 
respect, but also in petty crimes. We need to 
use our influence here to see that he does get 
justice. He needs justice in the courts, but he 
does not get it ; far too infrequently he is treated 
leniently because his white friend pleads his 
cause, and again, too frequently, he has no 
chance because there is no friend at court. What- 
ever may be said to the contrary, the negro does 
not get full justice at the bar of the law. 

Justice in Public Conveyances 

Neither does he get fair treatment in many 
public conveyances. I once asked Prof. John 
Wesley Gilbert, one of the best educated and 
most thoroughly Christian negroes in the South, 
what he thought of the "Jim Crow" laws. His 

^ "Christian Reconstruction in the South," pp. 204-5. 



WHAT CAN WE DO? I73 

reply was that he had no objection to them if 
they were fairly administered. But, of course, 
they are not. We all know that. Some cheap, 
white man who happens to be in authority treats 
the negro with disrespect and abuses him, lest 
some one may think that he, the conductor, is 
not better than they. Professor Gilbert told me 
he never rode on the car with his wife, lest some 
cheap conductor might insult her, and he would 
do as any other man, defend her, and a mob 
would be the result. This is not justice, it is 
not humanity, it is not Christianity. We must 
change it. 

Negro Self -Sufficiency 

Lastly, if we are to have perfect distinctness 
of life in this section, we must make the negro 
sufficient unto himself. So long as all honor 
lies in being associated with the white man, the 
negro will want social intermingling. So long 
as there are none of his own race that can meet 
him on a high plane and can satisfy the longings 
of his soul, just so long will he be driven to seek 
fellowship with white men. But build him up. 
m:ike him sufficient in himself, give him within 
his own race life that which will satisfy, and the 
social question will be solved. The cultivated ne- 
gro is less and less inclined to lose himself and 
his race in the sea of another race. As he de- 
velops, he is finding a new race consciousness, 
he is building a new race pride. He no longer 
objects to being called a negro — it is becoming 
the badge of his race and the mark of his self- 
sufficiency. We have nothing, therefore, to 



174 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

fear from giving him a chance. With every new 
chance he becomes more satisfied to hve his Ufe 
within the pale of his own race. If ever the negro 
is to become an efficient workman and a real 
economic factor, it will be because he has so far 
been elevated in his desires and needs that only 
constant labor can satisfy his wants. We shall 
increase his efficiency by increasing his wants. 
If ever he is to become a good citizen, it will be 
because he has been so elevated as to desire de- 
cency and honor, and not because he fears the law 
if he lives otherwise. If he is to be kept as a 
separate and distinct race, without any desire 
to mingle in social life with the white race, it 
will be by making his race so self-sufficient that 
he can find his desires, his ambitions, his social 
longings satisfied within his own ranks. This 
must come through the elevation of the whole 
race. 

We Need not Fear Advancement 

We have nothing to fear from the advance- 
ment of the negroes. It is a poor race which 
can sustain the position it has won only by for- 
ever crowding down other races that come into 
competition with itself. For my part, I do not 
believe the white race need take any such posi- 
tion. We shall be able to hold our own and care 
for our own, however great the advancement of 
the negro race may be. Rather, my fear is that 
the negro race in the South will remain so back- 
ward, that it will remain so ignorant, that it will 
remain so far in the rear of civilization, that we 
of the South will forever be held down bv the 



WHAT CAN WE DO? 1 75 

weight of our helpless neighbors, and allow the 
people of other sections of our country to march 
on and leave us hopelessly behind in our wealth, 
in our civilization, and in our culture. 

Ne?ro Needs Encouragement 

Let us encourage the negro race to advance as 
rapidly as possible; let us give him all the chance 
we can. He does not need to be held back or 
discouraged ; he needs to be cheered on. He 
needs to have held before him the records of 
high endeavor. No boy has ever grown great 
by believing that his life was worthless and his 
ability below the average. No race will ever be- 
come useful and industrious by being brow- 
beaten and discouraged. However difficult the 
task, we must bring the negro to believe in him- 
self. We must make him feel that he is capable 
of being a true man. We must help him to 
become sufficient unto himself. Any other course 
on our part is the madness of a slow suicide, for 
we rise or fall with the moral power of our 
section. 

Will We Stand the Test 

Ours is, perhaps, the most difficult task that 
has been set before the people of any section of 
America.' It will require more patience, it will 
cost more faith, it will need more persistence, it 
will demand a truer sympathy, and it will re- 
quire more Christian courage to solve this great 
question than any other question that faces the 
American - people. If we are faithless in this 
trust, woe be to ourselves and our successors ! 



176 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

But if we are faithful, the very difficulty of our 
task will mean a greater manhood and a brighter 
glory than a lesser task could give. I have faith 
that the educated men of the South will not be- 
wail their fate, but that they will, with the 
strength of men, meet and master these stupend- 
ous difficulties. It is not the negro that is on 
trial before the world, but it is we, the zvhite men 
of the South. The world is looking on to see 
whether we shall have sufficient wisdom, suffi- 
cient courage, sufficient Christian spirit to lend 
a helping hand to the race that is down. May 
the spirit of the Christ, the Friend of Men, give 
us strength to stand the test. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

The volumes listed in this bibliography are some of the best 
in print. The word of explanation after eacli title has not been 
intended in a critical spirit, but to help those who only care to 
purchase one or two volumes to secure the ones which will best 
meet their needs. Each volume here listed has been carefully 
read for this purpose. — W. D. W. 

Atlanta University Publications (Atlanta University 
Press, 1896-1906) : 

No. I, Mortality among Negroes in Cities, 1896. 
Mortality among Negroes in Cities, 1903. 

2, Social and Physical Condition of Negroes in 

Cities, 1897. 

3, Some Efforts of Negroes for Social Better- 

ment, 1898. 

4, The Negro in Business, 1899. 

5, The College Bred Negro, 1900 (two edition.^). 

6, The Negro Common School, 1901. 

7, The Negro Artisan, 1902. 

8, The Negro Church, 1903. 

9, Notes on Negro Crime, 1904. 

ID, A Select Bibliography of the Negro American, 

1905- 
II, Health and Physique of the Negro American, 

1906. 

These are the most thorough and original investiga- 
tions of the negro problem that have been made. 

Bryce, James. "The Relation of the Advanced and 
the Backvi^ard Races of Mankind." Clarendon 
Press, 1903. A clear statement of the conditions 
under which races anialgamate and those under 
which racial integrity prevails. 

177 



178 NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

* Baker, Ray Stannard. "Following the Color Line." 
Doubleday, Page & Co., 1908. A clear, fair state- 
ment of race conditions, as seen by a Northern 
man on an extended tour through the South ; per- 
haps the sanest book on the topic by a Northern 
man. 

Commons, John R. "Races and Immigrants in Amer- 
ica." The Macmillan Company, 1908. 

DuBois, W. E. B, "The Souls of Black Folk." A. C. 
McClurg & Co., 1907. From the standpoint of one 
of the most cultured and literary colored men in 
America. It bears the marks of keen insight into 
the thought of the race — at times bitterly pessi- 
mistic. 

Douglass, H. Paul. "Christian Reconstruction in the 
South." The Pilgrim Press, 1909. A study of 
the work of the American Missionary Association 
in the South. 

DowD, Jerome. "The Negro Races." The Macmillan 
Company, 1907. A scholarly study of three of the 
five great divisions of the negro race in Africa. 

*DuNBAR, Paul Laurence. "Lyrics of Lowly Life." 
Dodd, Mead & Co., 1896. Poems that catch the 
spirit of the old-time "darkey" to a remarkable 
degree. Likewise his poems of Cabin and Field, 
etc. 

Grogman. "Progress of a Race." J. L. Nichols & Co., 
1907. A running account of the life of the Amer- 
ican Negro — not all too accurate. 

Hart, Albert Bushnell. "The Southern South." Ap- 
pleton, 1910. 



BIBLIOGRAPHV 1/9 

Helm. j^Iary. 'The Upward Path." Young People's 
Missionary Movement, 1909. A very sane state- 
ment by a Southern woman who writes with clear 
insight and with deep sympathy for the negro's 
struggle. 

Hoffman, Frederick L. "Race Traits and Tendencies 
of the American Negro." American Economic As- 
sociation. Published by Macmillan & Co., 1896. 
The most scholarly and exhaustive study yet made 
of population, vital statistics, anthropometry, and 
race amalgamation. 

Harrison & Barnes. "The Gospel among the Slaves." 
Smith & Lamar, Nashville, Tenn., 1893. A careful 
compilation of facts concerning the evangelization 
of the negro during days of slavery. 

Miller, Kelly. "Race Adjustment." The Neale Pub- 
lishing Company, 1908. Strictly reliable as to facts, 
showing deep insight into the life of the race; a 
little critical of the white man. 

*MiRRiAM, George S. "The Negro and the Nation." 
Young People's Missionary Movement, 1906. A 
historical statement of the political questions aris- 
ing out of slavery. 

*Murphy, Edgar Gardiner. "The Present South." The 
Macmillan Co., 1904. The best expression of the 
spirit of the New South, dealing with many phases 
of the Negro question. 

"The Basis of Ascendency." Longmans, Green 
& Co., 1909. An "explicit statement of those fun- 
damental principles of policy" which underlie the 
solution of the race question. Absolutely fair and 
Christian in spirit. 

Nassau, Robert Hamill. "Fetichism in West Africa." 
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1904. A most entertaining 



l8o NEGRO LIFE IN THE SOUTH 

and thorough statement of the religious life and 
practices of the West African negro. 

*Page, Thomas Nelson. "The Negro, the Southerner's 
Problem." Charles Scribner's Sons, 1904. Charac- 
terized by thorough familiarity with the "old-time" 
negro, with less accurate knowledge of present 
conditions. Prone to magnify all the virtues of 
the slave, and all the vices of the present negro. 

RoYCE, JosiAH. "Race Questions, Provincialism, and 
Other American Problems." The Macmillan Com- 
pany, igo8. It is tolerably certain that few South- 
ern men will accept Professor Royce's statement 
that race antipathies are on a "level with a dread 
of snakes and of mice." The volume can hardly 
be called unbiased or scholarly. 

Shannon, A. H. "Racial Integrity." Smith & Lamar, 
Nashville, Tenn., and Dallas, Texas, 1907. A 
study of race amalgamation and other topics. 

Sinclair, William A. "The Aftermath of Slavery." 
Small, Maynard & Co., 1905. Somewhat unfair in 
its treatment of the question. The author is a col- 
ored man who chafes under present conditions. 

Smith, William Benjamin. "The Color Line." Mc- 
Clure, Phillips & Co., 1904. Brilliant in its state- 
ments, but bitter in its sarcasm. It is doubtful if 
the conclusions reached as to the future decay of 
the negro will prove true. 

Thomas, William Hannibal. "The American Negro.** 
The Macmillan Company, 1901. The harshest ar- 
raignment of the race by one of its own members. 
While showing clear insight into negro character, 
it is certainly unfair. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY l8l 

Washington & DuBois. "The Negro in the South." 
George W. Jacobs & Co., 1907. Dealing with the 
economic and religious life of the negro. 

♦Washington, Booker T. "Up from Slavery." Double- 
day, Page & Co., 1907. An autobiography of the 
writer, full of interest, and written in the finest 
spirit. 

"Working with Hands." Doubleday, Page & Co., 
1904. A splendid story of the Tuskegee Institute 
and a powerful argument for industrial education. 

"Character Building." Doubleday, Page & Co., 
1903. 

Chapel Talks by B. T. Washington at Tuskegee 
Institute. 

*The Y. P. M. M., New York, has published a stt of seven 
vJumes on the Negro question, price $5. This set includes the 
volumes marked with a star, and "Daybreak in the Dark Con- 
tinent," by Naylor, 



Race Relationships in ttie Soiitli 



Vol. I. Negro Life in the South, 

W. D. Weatherford. 
Vol. 2. Up from Slavery, Booker T. Washington. 
Vol. 3. ( The Story of the Negro, 
Vol. 4. ( Booker T. Washington. 

Vol. 5. The Basis of Ascendency, 

Edgar Gardner Murphy. 
Vol. 6. Race Distinctions in American Law, 

Gilbert Thomas Stephenson. 
Vol. 7. The Southern South, Albert Bushnell Hart. 

This Library of seven volumes deals with the po- 
litical, economic, social, educational, moral and reli- 
gious aspects of the race problems. 

It brings together the work of some of the great- 
est leaders in this realm of thought, chosen out of 
the scores of volumes printed in the last ten years. 
In scholarly accuracy, statesmanlike outlook, and 
fairmindedness toward all concerned, this library 
constitutes the ripest, sanest and most sympathetic 
statement of these problems. Price in original 
bindings, $9-75; in this special set, $5.00, carriage 
collect. 

Introducing Men to Christ 

W. D. Weatherford. Cloth, .50 

This volume attempts to make clear to men the 
steps which one takes in entering the Christian life, 
the results in one's life of becoming a Christian, the 
fundamental message of Christianity as compared 
with other religions, and the foundation stones upon 
which the Christian faith rests. Two chapters study 
how this message of the Christian life may be passed 
on to one's friends. Ten studies of seven sections 
each for daily study in the fundamental question 
of Christian life. 

ASSOCIATION PRESS - - - NEW YORK 



THE bible: is the 

ICEQUIRED COURSE 

Whatever courses a man may elect, he cannot 
hope to attain culture or even to understand count- 
less references in the world's literature without a 
knowledge of the Bible. The revival of interest 
in Bible study, especially in the colleges, is shown 
by the great success of CLAYTON S. COOPER'S 
articles in the Century. Mr. Cooper has pre- 
pared an exhaustive study of the whole subject — the 
demand for Bible study, its value to men of every 
type, the best methods, incidents illustrating its use 
under varying conditions. 

COLLEGE MEN AND THE BIBLE. Paper boards, 
50 cents postpaid; edition de luxe, $1.00 postpaid. 



CHRIST IN EVERYDAY LIFE. E. I. Bosworth. 
75 cents. 

"The aim is to help the reader in his daily devotions, and 
in this the work is entirely successful, more so than any other 
we have seen." — Student World. 

Thin as an empty wallet— potent as a full one. Daily Bible 
readings with comment. Bible paper, flexible cloth, leather 
finish, round corners, red edges. 

SOCIAL ACTIVITIES FOR MEN AND BOYS. 
A. M. Chesley. Profusely illustrated, cloth, $1.00. 

Plain directions for catching cheerfulness. A manual of 
games, amateur shows, outings, innings and other things that 
will raise a wholesome breeze in any social circle. The mate- 
rial came from all good sources available and has all been 
successfully tested. 

Hundreds of new stunts and new ways to do old ones, games, 
circuses, what not. At the top of each page is a quotation, 
old or new, all pointed. These alone are worth the price of 
the book. 

For example: "Tact is the quality not by which you often 
please but by which you seldom offend." — Rollins. "Beware 
of false profits." — Saturday Evening Post. 

IMMIGRANT RACES IN NORTH AMERICA. 
Peter Roberts, Ph.D. Cloth, 50 cents. 

An illustrated study of the home environment and historic 
background of the twelve chief nationalities from which immi- 
gration is drawn. A necessary handbook for industrial workers 
and equally valuable for the general reader. The man that 
masters this book will get more out of his daily newspaper 
reading. An encyclopedia of the history — religious, political 
and social — that explains present conditions. 



ASSOCIATION PRESS - - - NEW YORK 



FELLOWSHIP HYMNS 

THE COLLEGE HYMN BOOK 
See letters from men who 
know both hymns aLnd colleges 

Single copies, 45 cents postpaid; $35 a bundred, plus carriage 



From JOHN R. MOTT, General Secretary of the 
World's Student Christian Federation. 

"The best hymn book for use among the Student Young 
Men's Christian Associations. It is my hope that it may soon 
be widely introduced in the universities, colleges and prepara- 
tory schools. Our entire student movement is under deepest 
obligation for this wonderful collection of hymns and readings." 

From S. W. M'GILL, State Y.M.C.A. Secretary for 
Tennessee. 

'Fellowship Hymns strikes me as the best collection of 
church hymns and gospel songs for use in religious meetings 
for men. As leader of the Southern Student Conference, it 
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dict that it will occupy' a prominent place in conference plans." 

From PRESIDENT W. H. P. FAUNCE, LL.D., of 
Brown University. 

"A most serviceable volume, containing hymns new and old, 
hymns of individual aspiration and hymns of cooperative en- 
deavor, full of religious feeling, yet full of outlook on the 
world and its tasks. It ought to be of great service among 
American students, in our colleges and professional schools." 

From DR. WAL':ER RAUSCHENBUSCH, Roch- 
ester Theological Seminary. 

"This is a noble book. It combines the tenderness of love 
to Jesus Christ and of peace in God with the resolute call to 
sacrificial action and the martial attitude toward the world. 
The great doctrines of Christianity stand out boldly, yet the 
modern taste and spirit are unmistakable. It strikes me that 
the make-up of the book was not dictated by profit-making 
considerations. It ought to go far beyond the Y. M. C. A. 
in its use." 

From J. REDFERN MASON, Author of "Modern- 
ism in Music," Etc. (Atlantic Monthly), in the 
Rochester Post Express. 

"It is a hymnal summary of Christian doctrine; poetry and 
music are made to voice the central truths of the faith. It is 
gratifying to note scattered through the book the names of 
such great writers of hymn tunes as Dykes and Monk, Elvey, 
Barnby and Sullivan, whose strains breathe the true spirit of 
devotion. Spohr and Mozart are laid under contribution; 
Schumann and Rossini appear; the name of Handel vies with 
that of Beethoven. Lutheran Hymnody gives us 'Nun danket 
alle Gott," and 'Ein Feste Burg.' " , 



ASSOCIATION PRESS - - - NEW YORK 



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